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Frequently asked questions
Is there a BidBud app?
There's no need to download an app for BidBud, you can add an icon to your phone/tablet homescreen, which makes it function exactly like an app, see here for details.
How does BidBud save me money?
BidBud saves you money by being an expert on bidding. It knows all kinds of tricks and wins auctions by mere cents all the time. Also, you don't need to worry about making any bidding mistakes, like forgetting to tick the "autobid" box, or accidentally bidding more than you want to. BidBud will never bid more than the minimum, and if you bid more than you meant to, you can edit or cancel your bid up until two minutes before the auction ends. Finally, it won't let on that you're interested in the auction until the last minute, which keeps the bidding down. Early bidding attracts interest -- don't show your hand too soon!
How do you make money from BidBud?
This has a very simple answer - I don't. BidBud makes a small amount from ads that cover server costs.
The follow on question is often "Why make BidBud if you don't make money from it?". The answer to that is, it's fun to make. Also, as an unintended side effect I've ended up getting contract work because of BidBud - if you'd like some custom Trade Me API related work done, or in fact any development work, get in touch.
Can I bid on two items using BidBud, but only bid on the second one if I lose the first one?
Yes! This is a powerful and little known feature. See next question, "How does the groups feature work?".
How does the groups feature work?
The groups feature is for when you want an item and there are multiple options available on Trade me. With BidBud you can place a bid on all the items and assign them to a group. BidBud will bid on the items one by one as they're closing, until it wins an auction. It'll then stop bidding and won't win any more. If you want more than one, you can set the number required to as many as you want.
To use this feature, add a group on the groups page, then select this group when bidding to add the bid to a group. Each bid can be as high or as low as you like.
If you want to bid the same amount on all items, just add them all to your watchlist, then on the watchlist page, check off all the items, choose a group, and a bid amount. With one click, you can schedule as many bids as you wish!
Note: by default, BidBud will only win one item from the group. Be sure to increase this amount on the groups page if you want more than one!
What's the difference between the bidding strategies?
BidBud has four bidding strategies.
Slow: This strategy will place the minimum bid, as the auction is drawing to a close -- within the last 10 seconds. If someone else bids then BidBud will wait until the auction is closing again, and place another bid. The price of the item will go up very slowly, however, the end time is drawn out longer than with other strategies.
Adaptive: This strategy adapts depending on the situation. If it's up against an autobid it'll bid quickly until it's beating the autobid. If it's not up against an autobid then it'll bid more slowly, and unpredictably. It'll also hold back if others are engaged in a bidding war as that just tends to drive the price up.
Blocking: This strategy will use advanced tactics to block other traders from bidding. Using this strategy, it's impossible for anyone else to place a normal, minimum bid against you, because BidBud will continuously place an autobid that's one increment higher than the leading bid. If someone wants to win they'll have to bid higher than the minimum. Note: this strategy will probably generate a lot of emails from TradeMe -- one for each autobid that is equaled. Unfortunately there's no way to disable these.
Fast: This strategy is simple -- BidBud will simply place a normal Trade Me autobid for your maximum amount, but two minutes before the auction ends. The only potential downside is that as your maximum bid goes straight through to Trade Me, you can't cancel or reduce it within the final two minutes like you can with other strategies.
It's up to you to determine your favourite strategy. Slow is good for making the price to go up extremely slowly, but bear in mind that it can unnecessarily extend the auction by bidding slowly against an autobid. It's also more susceptible to not getting the bid through due to delays at Trade Me's end. Blocking is great to take control of the auction, it's extremely agressive and the auction will finish quickly, just be sure to realise it might look like you're bidding against yourself. Adaptive is right in the middle, it'll bore manual bidders to tears but it won't waste time against autobids. The fast strategy is very simple and needs no further explanation. If you're not sure, just choose fast as it's probably very similar to what you're used to on Trade Me.
All bidding strategies activate exactly two minutes before the auction ends, and you can choose your default strategy in your account settings.
What happens if two or more people bid on the same auction using BidBud?
As you'd expect, the highest bidder wins. BidBud will bid using each bidder's chosen strategy. If the auction extends by more then 5 minutes then BidBud will automatically put in a Trade Me autobid for the maximum bid for each remaining bidder. This results in the same outcome, but much more quickly.
What happens if two or more people use the automatic Buy Now/Fixed Price Offer feature on the same auction?
If two or more people have a higher bid than the Buy Now, then the person who placed their bid first will win. Otherwise it's the first person whose bid is equal or greater than the Buy Now.
If you update (ie increase or decrease) your bid, you'll keep your place in the queue.
How does "Use Buy Now or Fixed Price Offer if it becomes available" work?
If this option is enabled, BidBud will instantly snap up any Buy Now that's added to the auction you've placed your bid on, providing it's less than or equal to your maximum. If it's more, BidBud will bid the minimum so noone else can take it. It's an extremely powerful feature that ensures that noone else but you will win if a Buy Now is added.
It also works for FPOs (Fixed Price Offers). If the item isn't sold the and seller offers a FPO, BidBud will snap it up for you if it's less than or equal to your bid. You can bid less than the starting price and BidBud will only accept FPOs up to this price. Notes:
This option is only available if the reserve has not been met, or there have been less than 5 bids. Trade Me does not allow Buy nows to be used if the reserve has been met, but BidBud will allow a few bids before disabling this option in case the seller removes bids to add a Buy now
BidBud will only snap up the Buy Now instantly if the Buy Now is added. If it's lowered, BidBud will not snap it up instantly, there will be a delay of up to an hour. This is for technical reasons outside of BidBud's control.
This only takes effect if you actually schedule a bid. Don't worry about it being ticked by default, BidBud will not buy anything on your behalf unless you explicitly ask it to.
What does "round bid up if necessary" mean?
This means BidBud will increase your bid slightly in three circumstances:
When your bid is more than the current bid, but less than the minimum increase.
For example, if your maximum bid is $21.50 and the bidding reaches $21, you can't bid $21.50 as the minimum increase is $1.
Your bid is exactly the same as someone else's.
You're outbid by less than a normal bid increment.
BidBud will increase your bid just enough to beat your opponent. This ensures you're never outbid by a small amount without having to monitor the auction yourself and potentially pay more than you intended to.
The absolute maximum increase under any circumstance is <2 bids — <$1 if under $20, <$2 if under $200, etc.
Note that if your opponent is also using BidBud, has also ticked this option, and has a higher bid, then your bid will not be rounded up. Doing so in this case would be pointless as you'd lose anyway.
What's the option "only bid if reserve is met" for?
This is for auctions that you think will close without selling, and you want the seller to offer the item at a lower price. However, if someone else does bid, you want to bid on the item so as not to miss out. BidBud will take care of it regardless of what happens, without you having to watch the auction right up until it closes.
If "use FPO" is enabled, BidBud will automatically request a FPO and then automatically accept any FPO that's lower than the reserve.
If the auction has a hidden reserve, then BidBud won't bid unless someone else meets the reserve.
If there's a pre-existing Buy now on the auction, BidBud cannot prevent anyone else from using it.
What's the option "bid again if item is relisted" for?
If you select this option and the item is relisted, BidBud will automatically add the item to your watchlist again, and schedule exactly the same bid as before. This option will stay in effect until you win, or the item isn't relisted within 45 days.
What's the option "Enter default bid" for?
With this enabled, BidBud will enter a bid amount of two bid increments higher than the current bid — this is so you can schedule a bid with a single click which will still go through if someone else bids once. If you'd always rather choose your own bid amount, untick this option in your settings.
How do I place an Autobid?
All bids on BidBud are like Trade Me's autobid, BidBud will only ever bid the minimum required amount for an auction.
Why are all my Trade Me listings on BidBud?
BidBud accesses Trade Me data, with their permission, via what's called an API (application program interface). Basically, that means that any data you see on BidBud comes directly from Trade Me, with BidBud enhancements on the way through. BidBud has not copied all your listings onto a separate site, as soon as the listing is removed from Trade Me, it'll be removed from BidBud too. Don't be mad, be thankful for the extra exposure, and give some of BidBud's features for sellers a go!
Do I need to be logged in to Trade Me for BidBud to work?
BidBud works whether you're logged into to Trade Me or not - just set and forget.
How does the "Pickup location" feature work?
When you view a listing, BidBud will scan it looking for a pickup location - Trade Me's areas are quite broad and often people will include a more precise pickup location in their description, or someone will ask for it in the question/answer section. Once found, it's cached for future use, so if the seller forgets to include it in a listing you can quickly find it by looking at their profile.
Note that this uses heuristics rather than true intelligence, and will sometimes be nonsensical.
Why does BidBud show the minimum bid as half the reserve?
If there are no bids on an auction, BidBud will allow you to bid as low as 50% of the start price. That way, if the start price is lowered, your bid will still go through. It's also the amount you're prepared to pay for the item if it gets offered as a FPO. Also, if you enable "Bid again if item is relisted" then BidBud will keep monitoring the auction as it's relisted until the price drops to your chosen amount, then bid on it.
How often are delivery addresses updated?
Delivery adddresses are cached by your browser for an hour. If you add an address on Trade Me and want it to appear on BidBud immediately, force a refresh (Ctrl-F5 on Windows, Command-R on Mac), they'll be updated immediately.
Why do some usernames appear in red?
If a Trade Me member has less than 90% positive feedback with 2 or more negative feedbacks, BidBud will show them as red. This means you should check them out in further detail to see if they appear to be trustworthy.
Will BidBud bid against me if I place a bid on Trade Me?
No, BidBud will never bid against you if you decide to manually bid for some reason. Note that it's almost always a bad idea to show your intentions ahead of time, but BidBud is designed to handle that situation regardless.
Who's behind BidBud?
BidBud was made and is run by one person, Andrew Connell. You can contact me at the contact page.
Why didn't BidBud bid on my auction? I had to bid manually.
BidBud was going to bid on the auction, but you got there first. You have to trust BidBud to place your bid, if you've set the bid strategy to slow then it won't attempt to bid until the auction is about to close -- this could take time if there are multiple active bidders as the end time keeps extending. If there are multiple active bidders it's quite possible they'll outbid you and BidBud won't bid at all, don't take this as a sign it didn't work, it was just waiting until the right moment -- if it had bid earlier it would just have been outbid.
How can I add my Trade Me listings to my web page?
You can easily add your current Trade Me listings onto any other web page. Just copy and paste the following code where you want them to be.
Be sure to change the seller number (123456) to your own seller number (if you log into BidBud this will be updated automatically), and the height and width to suit your page. To show bids, remove &hide_bids=1, to show time remaining remove &hide_time=1. That's all you need to do to get it going, but it's far more configurable than that. Contact me for further details.
How can I add my Trade Me feedback count to my web page?
You can easily add your current Trade Me feedback count onto any other web page. Just copy and paste the following code where you want it to be.
The widget will be updated automatically every day - add it once and forget about it.
Be sure to change the number (123456) to your own Trade Me account number. If you log in to BidBud, this section will be updated automatically with the correct number and a preview of the widget
Why did BidBud add a few cents to my bid?
BidBud will automatically add a few cents to your bid if it's a round number. This is because those few extra cents might win you the auction, outbidding another bidder by as little as 1 cent.
If you don't want this to happen, then enable the "Don't add cents" option in your settings.
What does "send my delivery address automatically" mean?
If you enable this, BidBud will send your delivery address automatically when it wins an auction for you -- one less thing for you to do. You can choose your default under settings. You can also configure a message to send in the option below it.
Note: BidBud will include the message "This auction was won and the address sent automatically by BidBud" along with your address.
What's the "Message to send with address" option for?
If you enter a message here, it'll be sent automatically to the seller every time you win an auction and have the "send my delivery address automatically" option enabled. It will only be sent if you use your default delivery address as configured in the preceding option.
How can I exclude categories?
When you do a search, you'll see categories appear at the top. Simply untick the ones you don't want, then press the Update button. In the "basic" view there's also a link on every listing where you can exclude that category from search results. If you never want to see a particular category, click the "Set search defaults" button after you've excluded the category, and you'll never see it in search results again.
How can I see only listings that were listed since I last searched?
Save your search as a BidBud favourite, and set it to "never email". From now on, just go to your favourites, to click the appropriate link, and you'll only see items listed since you last looked. See the example below.
How do I set my default search settings?
Simply configure your favourite search settings, then press the button. The most useful settings here are sort order, suburb, and display type, but you can set other settings as a default if you wish.
Is my information safe with BidBud?
Yes! When you sign in to BidBud, it has access to your basic account information, your delivery addresses etc. It only looks at and stores your name and email address - it needs these for obvious reasons. It'll also check your account balance in case it has been negative for a while, so that you don't miss out on any bids (TradeMe doesn't allow you to bid if your account has been in debt for two weeks). It will load your delivery addresses to display them to you, and to send to sellers if you request, but it doesn't store them. BidBud does not have access to any stored credit card information or your password.
What does "Add listing title to your feedback items" mean?
If enabled, this means BidBud will add the auction title as a response to every feedback item you receive. This means you'll be able to easily see what each item was without having to look at them individually. Note: this takes place overnight, so check back the day after you enabled it to see the results.
How do the scheduled start options work?
BidBud will wait until a specific time to list your items. That means the listing will finish at the same time 7 days later (or however many days your listing is set for). Choose all listings you wish to list and then pick a time option.
Peak time will spread the listings out randomly between peak time, 8-10pm, of the current day, or the next day if that time period has passed.
Custom date and time will allow you to pick the exact range you want items listed at. The first item you select will be listed at the first time, the last one at the second time, and all others spread evenly between.
If you want to list all items at a specific time, just leave the second time blank or the same time as the first.
What does "keep within listing limit" mean?
If this is enabled, when using the "saved listings" feature, BidBud will check before listing each item to see if you're within your Trade Me listing limit. If not, it'll reschedule the listing to be listed at the same time the next day. The option to exclude Friday and Saturday exists as they're off peak days, when far fewer people are using Trade Me.
Why didn't BidBud bid - my bid was slightly above the winning bid?
Unfortunately your bid wasn't quite enough to be placed - Trade Me has a minimum bid increment system, your bid was less than the minimum next bid. If you enable round bid up if necessary then BidBud will automatically increase your bid to be enough, and you'll never have this problem.
What's the "footer" field for?
This free format text field will automatically be added to the bottom of all of your listings. That way you can have a standard blurb without having to copy/paste it every time. Just enter it once and click "save as default" at the bottom, along with any other default listing settings you like.
How does 'Hide blacklisted traders from search' work?
If this is enabled (as it is by default), any trader you've blacklisted will not appear in any search result on BidBud. You have to have blacklisted them via the BidBud blacklist for this to function.
I have a suggestion for improvement, can you add it?
Quite possibly! A number of BidBud's features have been suggested by users of the site. You can contact me at the contact page.