The Online Marketplace features great merchandise and services from local, trusted businesses who are customers of Sheridan Media. Using auction-style bidding, you can place bids on items available from these local vendors and, if you are the highest bidder, pay for and receive a certificate to pick up the item directly from the vendor. Bidding on items is controlled by the Bidder Trust Committee, the software that accepts and places bids on your behalf and oversees the whole bidding process to ensure fairness. A predetermined set of guidelines that are explained in the Official Rules governs the entire process on behalf of bidders.
The Online Marketplace also features Proxy Bidding which means that you can submit a Maximum Secret Bid for an item and let the Bidder Trust Committee act on your behalf to submit bids up to your maximum if your current leading bid is outbid by another participant's bid.
The benefit of this type of bidding is that you do not have to constantly submit one bid after another when you are outbid, and consequently, do not have to follow the bidding minute by minute as it unfolds. When the bidding is finished, the person who has submitted the highest bid will buy the item at no more than $10 over the second place bid (or $100 more for items with a value of $10,000 or greater and $1 for items with a value of less than $100).
Not only is this a tremendous opportunity to purchase featured items at unheard-of prices, but bidding is competitive, exciting and fun!
How do I participate?
Bidding is as easy as ...
- Determine the maximum amount you are willing to pay for the item you are bidding on. That will be your Maximum Secret Bid. Your Maximum Secret Bid may not necessarily be the price you pay if you are the successful bidder (you may pay less, but never more). However, choose a maximum carefully as you won't be able to reduce or cancel it later and you'll be legally bound to pay up to that price if it is the winning bid.
- Register yourself as a Bidder. You must provide your name, address, phone number and email address. The unique User Name assigned to you will allow you to track the progress of your bids online.
- Once bidding has commenced, search or browse for the item you wish to place a bid on and enter your Maximum Secret Bid for that item.
When the bidding ends, you will be contacted by email or phone if you hold a Winning Bid for any item.
How do I keep track of my bids?
The website always shows the current status of each item, as well as your personal bid history. You can also keep a 'watch list' of those items which you wish to track.
If you are outbid on an item by another bidder, you will receive a notice via email. In this case, you might want to consider placing a new, higher Maximum Secret Bid to still try to win the item.
How do I pay for and receive items?
For most items, you will pay online at this website, or by telephone, with your credit card. Your payment is to Sheridan Media, which is collecting the selling price on behalf of the business sponsoring the item. Your payment is due immediately after the close of the auction. As soon as your payment is complete, you will receive a certificate to redeem at the business which sponsored the item. For some items, such as automobiles and real estate, you will pay the vendor directly. Please read your winning bid email notice carefully for payment instructions.
Why a Maximum Secret Bid?
Because this is not a live event, you cannot react instantly to someone bidding against you on the same item. For this reason, we use a system called Proxy Bidding. Under Proxy Bidding, you tell the Bidder Trust Committee the most you are willing to pay for an item. This is your Maximum Secret Bid and is known only to you and the Trust Committee. The Trust Committee then places a bid on your behalf at the lowest level possible to make you the Leading Bidder for the item.
If another Bidder places a bid on the same item and their Maximum Secret Bid is less than yours but greater than your leading bid, the Trust Committee automatically raises your bid in $10 increments (or $100 for items with a Value of $10,000 or more greater and $1 for items with a value of less than $100) until you are again the Leading Bidder or your Maximum Secret Bid is reached.
Your bid will not exceed your Maximum Secret Bid unless you submit a new, higher Maximum Secret Bid.
By using a Maximum Secret Bid, you save yourself the trouble of having to enter a new bid every time another bidder bids on the item, and you reduce the chances of being outbid at the last minute before the bidding ends.
What is the Reserve Status?
Each item has a Reserve Value. This is the minimum amount that bidding must reach for the item to be sold. The Reserve Value is usually about 50% of the actual Value of the item. If the Reserve Value is not reached through bidding, the item will not be sold.
During the course of bidding, each item will display one of two Reserve Statuses:
Reserve not met. The amount of the highest bid is less than the Reserve Value and the item has not yet sold.
Reserve met. The amount of the highest bid is at least as much as the Reserve Value and the item will be sold to the highest bidder.
If your Maximum Secret Bid is the first to meet or exceed the Reserve Value, the Bidder Trust Committee will automatically place your bid at the Reserve Value and declare reserve met for that item.
Example of the Bidding Process
- Bidder A determines that he is willing to pay up to $1200 for an item with a Value of $1500, and therefore submits a Maximum Secret Bid of $1200 for the item.
- Since Bidder A's $1200 bid was greater than the Reserve Value, the Bidder Trust Committee places a bid of $750 (the hidden reserve value) on behalf of Bidder A, making Bidder A the Leading Bidder, and declares Reserve Met.
- Bidder B determines that she is willing to pay up to $1000 for the same item, and therefore submits a Maximum Secret Bid of $1000 for that item.
- Since Bidder A has a higher Maximum Secret Bid than Bidder B, the Bidder Trust Committee places a second bid on behalf of Bidder A in the amount of $1010, which is the minimum amount needed for Bidder A to remain the Leading Bidder ($10 over the next highest secret bid - $1000 from Bidder B).
- Bidder C determines that he is willing to pay up to $1300 for the same item and submits a Maximum Secret Bid of $1300. Since Bidder C's Maximum Secret Bid is now the highest, the Bidder Trust Committee submits a bid of $1210 on behalf of Bidder C ($10 over the next highest secret bid) and Bidder C becomes the new Leading Bidder.
- Bidding ends and Bidder C is declared the winner. Bidder C purchases the item for $1210 (plus taxes, if applicable).
At any point while bidding is in progress, Bidders A and B could enter higher Maximum Secret Bids, to attempt to outbid Bidder C, or additional bidders could enter the bidding on this item, making for a competitive and exciting auction-style online marketplace.