The Trailer for Lilyhammer the First Netflix Original Series Is Actually Really Good

Finally, the video posted above is the trailer for Netflix’s first original series, Lilyhammer. Netflix had a horrible year in 2011, it got his rear handed to him left and right. But I think this first series is going to bring up some of its ratings – that is unless the show fails.

From the looks of the video, this may be a good show. I can’t really know for sure until the show comes out but the trailer is pretty entertaining. The description on Netflix could not have been written any better either:

After he testifies against a Mafia boss, ex-gangster Frank Tagliano enters the witness protection program and asks to be sent to Norway. Despite the peaceful surroundings, it’s not long before Frank strays from the straight and narrow.

Lilyhammer is a gripping fish-out-of-water story set in Norway, starring “The Sopranos” mainstay and E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt. This new Original Series premiers on Netflix on Feb. 6, 2012 in the USA, Canada and Latin America.

Planned Obsolescence – The Reason Our Technology Breaks

The documentary from the video above goes into all the different stages that a company goes through when they are developing a new product. You have three stages that are required for a successful Consumerism – Advertisement, Planned Obsolescence, and Credit. The three stages make a modern business thrive, without one of the stages; the business fails and loses all types of power in a worldwide market.

We all know about the importance of having a good advertisement campaign, this campaign makes people believe they need a specific product. But most importantly, it makes people believe your product or brand is better than the competition.

We also know how important it is to have credit available to purchase the product’s that are being advertised, companies offer people the ability to pay in credit so you can purchase that one product you’ve been dying to have, but can’t really afford it.

Unlike Advertisement or Credit, not everyone knows about the effect “planned obsolescence” plays, and really it’s because not everyone talks about such a stage. In order to understand what planned obsolescence means, you have to understand where it all started. Obsolescence is the state of being which an object, service, or practice is no longer wanted, even though it may still be in good working order. Planned Obsolescence is the “time” that a company believes is the perfect timing for a product to go out. For example, we can make light bulbs that can be on for years at a time, but companies planned them to extinguish at the 1000 hour mark.

The reason planned obsolescence is important in our economy is because if a company developed a light bulb that never extinguishes, then they would effectively run themselves out of business, this same belief goes out with every other kind of product. iPods, are a perfect example, once the battery is dead (18 months or so) you were forced to buy a new iPod. By now you get the gist of this “conspiracy” but watching the video I listed above you can actually see that unlike other conspiracies, this one actually makes sense.

The Top 60 Most Useful Websites of the Internet!

Everyday we have hundreds of new websites that pop up in random places. Most of the times, the sites will lay there dormant because no one knows they exist. The sites I listed below will more than likely help you solve a couple of everyday problems. I did not include large websites like IMDB, or Wikipedia since they already get all the attention, instead, I focused on the websites that no one really knows about, the ones that lay in the dark waiting for you to bookmark them.

The best thing is that most, if not, all of the sites at the bottom are free to use, and they have a very simple web addresses so you can easily learn the sites by heart.  If you feel like I forgot to add some cool sites that can enrich our lives, then please feel free to add them to the bottom of the page in the comment section. Just make sure that the site is actually helpful, we hate to see people post sites to something like “My favorite funny video site” or something like that, anyways with that out of the way Here we go!


1. screenr.com -Screener is an awesome way to record your screen. If you want to show people how to do something on their computers but don’t want to make a long boring video holding a camera that records your monitor, screner is the way to do it. It’s very simple to do and once you’re done you can upload the video directly to Youtube.


2. regex.info/exif.cgi – This website is awesome for anyone that’s trying to find hidden data that’s contained in a picture. You simply upload the image to the file, or type in the URL of an image and it delives Metadata, Resolution, Size, Compression


3. wetransfer.com – I love this website if you’re ever wanting to send some VERY big files to another person but you can’t do it over the internet, We Transfer is the way to do it. It’s free and you can send files as large as 2 gigabytes, you can even open your own channels “username.wetransfer.com” or similar names.


4. awesomehighlighter.com – Sometimes you just want to send some information out to your friends, but when you do, they end up calling you asking where they can find the information. If this is a large page, like a page found on Wikipedia, then you may have some trouble identifying what they need to pay attention too… With this site you can easily highlight the important parts of a web page.


5. goo.gl – Goo.gl is the short version of Google, and it simply shortens long URLs and convert URLs into so other people can post them on websites or other pages as an image. Anyone with a QR Code Scanner can quickly visit your site with a simple scan!


6. copypastecharacter.com – This site is awesome for when you want to find that one character that is not on your phone Keyboard, for example the phone symbol ☎ You can simply go to the site, select your character and it automatically copies it then you simply paste it on another site. Awesome uh? ☠


7. office.com – Office is run by Microsoft, here you can download templates, clipart and images for your Office documents. You can also run online versions of Microsoft Word, Excell, Power Point, and other office products all from your browser – similar to Google docs.


8. virustotal.com – When you receive a suspecious e-mail and are not sure if the mail came from your friend’s computer or if it’s a fake e-mail with a virus, then this site will save your rear in a heart beat, it basically scans any suspicious file or email attachment for viruses and let’s you know if it’s safe or evil!


10. untiny.me – I’m sure you’ve received those small tiny urls… the ones that trick you into opening a malicious site. Well if you ever receive another one of those, this site will take care of that problem for you. The sole purpose of Untiny.me is to find the original URLs that’s hiding behind the short URLs!


11. bounceapp.com – I love this site, sometimes I Have to take full copies of my site so submit to advertisers, this site is awesome for capturing full length screenshots of web pages. You no longer have to take 20 different shots of a website then photoshop it all together. This site will do it all for you!


12. woorank.com – There are hundreds of sites on the internet that give you the ranking of any website, this one however is probably one of the most accurate ones, it gives you everything you wanted to know about any website.


13. mywot.com – This place is awesome to check the trust level of any website the users of this thriving community all leave comments regarding a website, if you want to know how safe a site is, simply visit mywot.com and read their comments, if it doesn’t have any comments, leave one!


14. localti.me – This is an awesome website for when you need to know more than just the local time of a city. This site tells you the history of the city, Important news and events, important phone numbers, driving conditions, maps, population, temperature, and much much more.


15. joliprint.com – Joliprint gives everyone the ability to easily capture any article, story, news, blog post or web page whenever they want using whichever device or platform they find most convenient, and then to make all of that information easy to read.


16. iconfinder.com – Iconfinder provides high quality icons for webdesigners and developers in an easy and efficient way. The site launched in 2007 as the first search engine focused on icons and it quickly became the best place to find Icons of all types and sizes!


17. truveo.com – Was the best place for searching web videos, it was then purchased by AOL video, and they merged their databases together, this site is still a very powerful video site but is slowly losing performance, so jump on board before it’s all out!


18. viewer.zoho.com – Zoho is a suite of online applications (services) that you sign up for and access from their Website. The applications are free for individuals and some have a subscription fee for organizations. Zoho is known for their ability to preview PDFs and Presentations directly in the browser.


19. scr.im – Is an awesome way to share you email address online with everyone online without worrying about spam.


20. wolframalpha.com – Is a very complicated way to say this site “gets answers directly without searching” You simply type in the question, and the website will conduct dynamic computations based on a vast collection of built-in data, algorithms, and methods then deliver you the Answer!


21. printwhatyoulike.com – Lets you print the good parts of any web page while skipping ads and other junk.


22.  e.ggtimer.com – This is a simple online timer for your daily needs. The site also has several other cool tools like “warm up” and “wake up” you can set the timer to remind you to do something from 4 minutes from now…. to 5 years from now.


23. coralcdn.org – Are you tired of clicking on some link from a web portal, only to find that the website is temporarily off-line because thousands or millions of other users are also trying to access it? if a site is down due to heavy traffic, try accessing it through coral CDN.


24. random.org – Offers true random numbers to anyone on the Internet. The randomness comes from atmospheric noise, which for many purposes is better than the pseudo-random number algorithms typically used in computer programs. People use RANDOM.ORG for holding drawings, lotteries and sweepstakes, to drive games and gambling sites, for scientific applications and for art and music.


25. tubemogul.com – OneLoad is a free video distribution service for brand advertisers and content creators who want to easily seed their videos to the top video and social networking sites. Users can also leverage our Destinations feature to easily distribute to custom sites as well as encode and create RSS feeds to syndicate your video anywhere.


26. polishmywriting.com – Checks your writing for spelling, grammatical, and Style errors for free.


27. spypig.com –SpyPig is a simple email tracking system that sends you a notification by email when the recipient opens your messages.


28. join.me – Allows you to share your screen with anyone over the web, they have a free plan and  a pro plan, the pro version lets you have more tools.


29. tabbloid.com – Serves one purpose, to serve your favorite blogs as PDFs.


30. tineye.com – TinEye is a reverse image search engine. It finds out where an image came from, how it is being used, if modified versions of the image exist, or if there is a higher resolution version.


31. whatfontis.com – This website quickly determines the font name of a font being used on any image or website by simply uploading an image to the system.


32. fontsquirrel.com –Free fonts have met their match. This website knows how hard it is to find quality freeware that is licensed for commercial work. They’ve done the hard work, hand-selecting the typefaces and presenting them in an easy-to-use format. Font Squirrel has a good collection of fonts – free for personal and commercial use.


33. typewith.me – The name of the site says it all, the site lets you work on the same document with multiple people. You all can make corrections, edits, and write on a single document at the same time.


34. everytimezone.com – a less confusing view of the world time zones, it shows you what time it is right now in every city of the world.


35. wordle.net – Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends.


36. imo.im – Let’s you chat with your buddies on Skype, Facebook, Google Talk, and every other chat service all from one place.


37. similarsites.com – Because it’s all about choice, SimilarSites.com helps you find alternatives. Don’t scroll through countless search results – SimilarSites makes finding content related to your current search absolutely effortless


38. bubbl.us – Lets you create mind-maps, brainstorm ideas, and make web clouds all inside the the browser.


39. kuler.adobe.com – This is simply a site that lets you get color ideas for websites, homes, cars, dressing styles etc. It tells you which colors match with what.


40. followupthen.com – Follow up then lets you get an e-mail reminding you to “followup” on what ever article you were reading. Lets say that you want to read this page, but you’re about to leave the office, you can click a “follow up” button and it will e-mail you at a later time so you can follow up with the story when you’re home.


41. lmgtfy.com – This is for all those people who find it more convenient to bother you with their question rather than google it for themselves.


42. faxzero.com – Send an online fax for free. I use this site all the time, you can send up to three fax pages at a time.


43. feedmyinbox.com – Get RSS feeds as an email newsletter.


44. isendr.com – Sendoid is an on-demand peer to peer transfer system. It makes transferring any size file between two people as simple as clicking a link!


45. tinychat.com –Tinychat provides dead simple, free to use, video chat rooms that just work! Enjoy chatting with your friends or making new ones, just create a chat room or join one.


46. privnote.com – Have you ever wanted to send confidential information within your work environment, to family or friends, but were afraid to do so over the internet, because some malicious hacker could be spying on you? Just write your note, and you’ll get a link. Then you copy and paste that link into an email (or instant message) that you send to the person who you want to read the note. When that person clicks the link for the first time, they will see the note in their browser and the note will automatically self-destruct.


47. flightaware.com – FlightAware provides live flight data, airport information, weather maps, flight planning, and navigation charts, as well as aviation news and photos to over two million users a month.


48. boxoh.com – Track the status of any shipment on Google Maps


49. chipin.com –ChipIn’s mission is to make it easy to collect money. They enable users to organize group payments and fundraisers (“ChipIns”) in a quick, easy, and secure way. They also make it simple for organizers to publicize their ChipIns, by providing powerful fundraising widgets that can be embedded in social media.


50. downforeveryoneorjustme.com – find if your favorite website is offline for everyone, or if it’s offline for only you.


51. errorlevelanalysis.com – This finds out if an Image has been Photoshopped or if it’s Real: Error level analysis can help you work out if a photo has been digitally altered. Photos in a jpeg file format actually lose quality each time they are resaved. This website can take advantage of this to try and work out if an image has been digitally manipulated.


52. sxc.hu – SXC was launched in February 2001 as an alternative for expensive stock photography. The idea was to create a site where creative people could exchange their photos for inspiration or work. The site has evolved into the massive community you see today — there are over 2,500,000 registered users and around 400,000 photos online.


53. zoom.it – view very high-resolution images in your browser without scrolling through the images.


54. scribblemaps.com – This website allows you to create custom Google Maps easily, Great for when you want to create a map for a race or for a secret path.


55. encrypted.google.com – This page makes your sessions encrypted, to prevent your ISP and boss from reading your search queries.


56. snopes.com – This is a great website to find if that email offer you received is real or just another scam, they have hundreds of different scams on file.


57. aviary.com/myna – The best online online audio editor that lets you record, and lets you remix audio clips online for free.


58. disposablewebpage.com – Each disposable webpage has a count down clock. You can set this clock to count down anywhere from 90 days to 0 days from the time the page is created. When the remaining time reaches 00:00:00:00, the page is automatically set for disposal and will exist for 2 more weeks before it gets incinerated.


59. namemytune.com – When you need to find the name of a song, this page has your back!


60. lovelycharts.com – This website lets you create flowcharts, network diagrams, sitemaps, that you can share with all of your friends!

Should You Get “Fired?” – Amazon Kindle Fire Review

I can’t believe that 2011 is already winding down. November and December are all that’s left and we’re already halfway through November. In just a few weeks we’ll be sitting down to thanksgiving dinner with our loved ones a then it’s time to start thinking about Christmas. What’s that perfect gift for that special someone, and how much of a dent is this Christmas going to put in my bank account.

With that thought in mind Over the next few Tech Tips I’ll be sharing some gift ideas that may be just thing for that special someone in your life.

Show Notes:
www.Amazon.com/Kindle
www.WhoIsJeff.com

Other Kindle Fire Reviews:
http://www.engadget.com/2011/11/14/amazon-kindle-fire-review/
http://www.theverge.com/2011/11/14/2560084/kindle-fire-review

WinX DVD Ripper by DigiArty Review: Safe To Download

When you spend $50 or so dollars on a DVD, you don’t want to have a collection of movies that are collecting dust in the corner of your room. It makes sense to want to back up your copies and carry them with you everywhere you go, on your iPad, or your Android. Just recently I was trying to transfer some movies from my DVD collection and onto my iPad, the only way of doing it was through purchasing expensive software that guaranteed the job OR try to take my chances at downloading a free software that could potentially be infected with viruses, freeware, spy bots, you know, the whole list weird malicious names. Then I came across DigiArty, a software company that is full of DVD ripping software.

The thing that caught my attention was that WinX DVD Ripper is free, it didn’t make sense at first and it instantly sent out the “red flags”. The software claimed that it can backup your DVDs to your hard drive to increase the protection of your movies. You can then store your DVD’s as MP4, WMV, AVI, FLV, Mov, MPeg, and a number of other formats. Once they are downloaded, you can take the movies and send them to your iPhone, iPod, Apple TV, Android Phone, PSP, etc. with your own customized profile settings.

So it actually get’s a lot of things done for free, if you’re wondering why they are giving it out for free here is a catch. It does exactly what it describes it does %100 of the time, but it has several features that are blocked unless you buy the premium service.  The chart at the bottom has a list of all the services offered in the premium service and all the services that you have on the free version. Honestly, the free version is more than enough to get a one time movie ripping session out of the way. But if you’re going to be doing this with several movies, I would recommend the Platinum version. (platinum is like the online gold standard now days) Click on the image at the bottom to see a larger version of the features.

The things I really liked about this service were:

1) It doesn’t come with any viruses or any type of malware, this is probably one of the first downloads in a long time that gets this done without any threat to your PC.
2) It’s free, no strings attached, and when you want to erase it, it doesn’t leave those spam messages to upgrade upgrade UPGRADE.
3) It downloaded in like 10 minutes, and it ripped a 2 hour long movie in 18 minutes.  That’s pretty fast.
4) IT Works and it offered a very friendly interface. You can rip movies in 3 mouse clicks.

C-Net reviewed the Platinum version of the software and they gave it an awesome review score. They compared WinX to another competitor and WinX got their vote. If you’re looking for a free way of taking your DVD’s with you and porting them onto your iPad, then this is the way to go. If you were one of the lucky people that got an HP touchpad, you could turn that into a movie pad for when you’re on the road. I would also recommend and see what else DgiArty has to offer, here is the link to their website, they have a whole list of other products that claim to do amazing things. If it’s anything like the DVD Ripper, then I’m sure you’ll love what they have to offer.

50/50 Movie Review

The lead is a bit of a delicate role.  Adam (Gordon-Levitt) goes through a roller coster of emotional events, so getting someone to fill Adam’s shoes is a rather scrupulous choice in casting.  And I think they found the perfect guy.

When I first heard about the movie, I thought to myself “Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogan in a movie together…and it’s a comedy about cancer?”  It’s a hard sell, albeit, I did get a chuckle or two out of the trailer.  I had faith in Levitt’s choice in films and his acting, and Seth Rogan rarely does something that’s not worthwhile, so I thought I’d give it a go.  Granted, I took a minute to get to it, so after the hearsay of how much of a downer movie it is, I got myself prepared for it.  Though it had been described as a “downer,” I hadn’t heard anyone say it was bad.

Plot: Adam (Godron-Levitt) is a carless, diligent, healthy-habited, nice guy who is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.  Leaning on his best friend Kyle (Rogan), difficult mother, and a young therapist (Anna Kendrick), Adam undergoes many challenges of enduring his sickness and it’s effect on the people around him, all the while learning to focus on the most important things in his life.

It was a really good story.  Just really well done.  As rocky an emotional road that movie is, they did a fantastic job of bringing you in and getting you attached to the characters.  When something happened, you felt it.  You just coast and smile and enjoy the ride, and suddenly there’s a drop.  And your heart just– it sinks a little.  As the characters make peace with the event, so do you…but, this is essentially a roller coaster film.  You go in looking for the comedy, and you also go in for the drama.  And boy do they do both of ’em well.  You get to those highs so that the drops have more effect.  The following is a graph depicting the progression of overall happiness throughout the movie:


I will say, I’ve only shed tears at 3 movies in my lifetime.  As a kid I cried at “Angels in the Outfield.”  Then later at “The Green Mile.”  And just recently, “Toy Story 3” got me even after my brother warned me that I’d cry– which I serously doubted would happen considering my track record.  (DAMN YOU PIXAR AND YOUR PHENOMENAL STORY TELLING!)  For “50/50”, my eyes watered up.  They watered up good.  But right before that tear could fully form, I managed to suck it right back into my face and hold onto my Man-Card.  I’m a tough one to crack, so ladies (and you sensitive dudes out there)…bring some tissues.

The cast was rather choice.  As odd a pairing as Rogan and Gordon-Levitt sounded to me, it ended up being a pretty good match.  The flavor to their characters made it seem like a real-life pairing of best friends.  Kind of like a Cory Matthews & Shawn Hunter kinda deal.  Different enough and balanced enough to really work.  I had never heard of Anna Kendrick before this movie, but she has certainly grabbed my attention now.  I’ve managed to dodge her Twilight films because whenever someone mentioned that sparkly garbage, I’d stamp them “crazy” and quickly change topics to avoid brain damage.  Little did I know that the abomination to vampire films everywhere actually hosted a real actress in it.  She pulled off an awkward, inexperienced, young therapist incredibly well.  And she’s absolutely gorgeous to boot!  Her character was this gentile hope that something good could still happen in this crazy “downer film.”

I love movies that progress so naturally that I don’t stop to think about plot points and try to figure out the outline of how things intertwine and how they got from Point A to Point B.  It’s just good writing that avoids the Hollywood formula, and it’s a huge plus to me.  Overall the movie was incredibly enjoyable, despite the emotional rollercoaster.  I left the theater reminiscing a couple scenes that really moved me, and was perfectly satisfied with being $10 poorer.

4.5/5

How To Keep Your iPhone’s Headphone Jack Clean With The iCatchi

If you are anything like me, my phone is to make calls, listen to music, and play angry birds. My phone is packed with over 10 gigabytes of random music that I have accumulated over the years. I’ve had my phone for about 2 years, and in those 2 years, I’ve had problems with the headphone jack a total of 9 times. This happens when lint or sand or any other type of debris gets trapped inside the headphone opening, and it tricks the phone into thinking there is a headset inserted into the phone. After the ninth time of this happening, I started to find different ways to plug up the headphone jack to keep this from messing up my phone again.

Since everything around my house is controlled by bluetooth, and most devices now days have an iPhone Dock or an Android Dock, there was no need for me to have the jack open to cause more problems. I used tape, hot glue, small a toothpick, etc. but somehow, the problem always came back.

Then I found the iCatchi while I was looking for a solution to the problem on line. Apparently, there are thousands of people that have the same problem with the iPhone or the iPad. Even the iPhone 4S has the problem with the jack believing there is a headset inserted into the phone, when in reality, it’s just a small piece of debris inside it. So I went to the iCatchi website at http://www.icatchi.com.au/, yes it’s Australian, but these guys were having the same problem as I was and found a perfect way to fix it!

The iCatchi is one of those products that you find on the store while you’re waiting in line and think “oh wow, this is exactly what I was looking for!” It’s basically a plug for your Cellphone’s jack. It has two purposes – the primary one, to prevent debris from entering the phone through the headphone jack – and the iCatchi does this 100% of the time, and is extremely amazing at it.  The second purpose is to make your phone different from all the other phones in the crowd by giving you the ability to personalize your phone one step further than the rest. They have hundreds of different themes and looks that range from politics, flags, fashion and sports teams, just to name a few. You can check them out by clicking the themes available tab on their website. They also have an option where you can send them your logo and they will add your logo to the top of the plug. This is great if you own a company and want to get some sort of publicity out of the plug, OR if you just want to make your own design.

I went ahead and got several of the plugs in to check them out and see which ones I enjoyed the best, plus I thought they look pretty cool. One of my main reasons I ordered several of them was because I thought the plug could fall off OR if I ever decided to use the headphone jack I would lose the small plug. But when I got them I found out they actually come with a small plastic plug holder the iCatchi Clip, that attaches to your headphone chord. The clip holds your plug in place while you use your head set.

The iCatchi doesn’t work on every phone, yet, but the iCatchi website has a handy compatibility chart where you can check your device and see which iCatchi models will work with your device. The iCatchi models include Flat Round, Curved Round, Curved Rectangular and Short Round. These difference is mostly on the size and shape of the plug that sticks out of the headphone jack. The only one that is actually different is the Short Round, which has a shorter headphone plug designed to work with Nintendo and Sony handheld consoles. So just make sure you check out their site before you start ordering what ever you think is going to look cool.

Once you get the plug, you will notice that the iCatchi fits snugly into the headphone jack of your device. The disc portion, where the logo is displayed, sticks out just enough to block the entrance, so it doesn’t really mess with your phone’s contour design to much. Since the plug fits flush against your device, it could be a problem with some cases that are available in the market like the Otter Box.  But if you don’t have a box around your phone, these models would be great for you.

I would definitely check them out before you run into the headphone problem. Since I have a couple of these plugs laying around the office now, I need to give some of them out. Like Our page by clicking the box on the top right or the bottom of the article, then simply leave us a comment on our fan page and at the end of the week we’ll pick random winners to send you a pair of the iCatchies for you to try out. If you are already a fan, just leave a comment saying “already a fan” you’r comment will hold 10 times the weight over a new fan increasing the chances of winning! – this is one of the pro’s for being a fan of Tek-Bull when a contest is started. Good luck!

QuiBids, BidTail and Other Penny Auction Sites: Review

I received an e-mail earlier asking me about my take on QuiBids.com or Bidtails.com or any other penny-auction site. I tend to stay away from them at all costs. Penny-auction sites have been around for some time in the U.S. and they have only gotten more popular.

A penny-auction site is very attractive to people who think they will win a brand new expensive luxury item at a cheap price. For example, QuiBids claims that you can own an iPad with a retail price of $499 for an amazing bargain of $29.99. But this winning bid of $29.99 is misleading. There’s no possible way they could actually sell iPads for that price and make a profit. It’s a losing proposition — unless there’s more to it than meets the eye. And there certainly is.

How do the penny-auction sites work?

To bid on an item, a user must buy some amount of bids to add to his account. Let’s say each bid costs 60 cents. The sites base auctions on how much each bid raises the final price of the item, and not all auctions are true “penny auctions” (where each bid would raise the item’s price by 1 cent), but for the sake of this example, let’s say we are talking about a true “penny auction”. So let’s say that an iPad (which normally sells for about $500) is sold for a final price of $29.99, or  2,999 penny bids which cost $0.60 each. Revenue on the bids alone would total $1,799.40, not to mention the final selling price — so the company would have brought in $1,829.39 for a $500 item. So even though a customer did buy the iPad for $29.99 plus the cost of whatever bids they made, the company made more than twice as much as the retail value of the iPad.

Every time that you make a bid, you lose those 60 cents. Regardless of whether you win or lose, you will not get a refund for those 60 cents. So for every 100 bids, you effectively pay 60 bucks. It would be an awesome deal if you came in at the end of the sale and bought an iPad with .60 cents (one penny bid), but that is extremely rare, and more than likely it will never happen for you.

Why? Human psychology. If you spend $450 on an iPad, and you are not going to win the iPad, then you lose that money. So there comes a point in the bidding war where the bidder says, “you know what? Screw it — I’m buying this iPad and selling it on the side so I can make some of the money back that I’ve already lost on this bidding war.” If I spend nearly $500 on an iPad, I want to make sure I win it now, because otherwise, I would have just thrown away $500. If I do win the iPad at that price, I’d then go to my friends and try to sell it for something near that value. Yes, I will probably lose money doing it, but it’s not a $500 loss. Make sense?

I’m not saying that you can’t win anything or get something for cheaper than retail price, but it’s very difficult and time-consuming to do so. And unless you have Patience, Time, and Money — but most importantly enough money to lose, because you will not win something all the time — then don’t even bother trying to get into the penny-auction sites. Most people who I have talked to that have done this for years, claim that they tend to save $50-$80 per purchase. Keep in mind these people live on these sites, so they know what they are doing. You may expect to come in and take a huge bargain deal from the site, but instead you may lose hundreds of dollars.

So are Penny Auctions a Scam?

All penny auctions, no matter how reputable or how legitimate they sound, are a bad idea in my opinion.

They are not a scam, but their business model is in the gray area. Unlike eBay, where the bidder and auctioneer are two completely different people, the penny-auction sites are both the seller and auctioneer — so since they control the rules of the game and are part of the game, the game will invariably benefit them.

On top of the cost of the bids and the item itself, there will be other things like added “fees,” tax, and S&H. What ever product you buy will end up costing you extra money. Most sites nowdays have a “buy now” option where you can buy the product at its retail value, but on the penny-auction sites, the “fees” and other charges may result in that iPad costing you more than it would from Apple. You could buy one at a retail store for cheaper, or better yet, snatch up a good deal on Amazon.

Here is something else to remember. The penny sites are not an approved retailer for almost any of the brand name products. So let’s say that you buy an iPad or a television. As soon as you win the bid, the warranty is voided, so if it breaks in transport or after you receive it, good luck trying to get a new one.

So that’s my take on penny-auction sites.

Do you have a question for us? Shoot us an e-mail! Once a week we will take the most interesting question we get, and we’ll post the answer right here for you. It doesn’t matter what it is — we’ve got you covered!