B4bid.com is a Lahore-based startup that recently launched an auctioning platform to compete with Lootmaar.com.
Their twist on this story, however, is that their platform also serves as a social network that aims to bring together the auctioneering community in general onto a place to connect and get to know each other.
I think that is an interesting idea – it would reduce any fears or hesitation buys and sellers may have before participating, and could create a reputation network for sellers within their system, which would increase the likelihood of trustworthy transactions occurring on the system.
The guys behind b4bid.com have chosen Facebook as their launch marketing platform, which is a smart strategy – at launch-day they claimed to have gotten close to a 100 new members.
The only trouble with the site that I could see at the moment was that it is too closed up to get interesting people to get a taste for – I couldn’t see an easy way to find out what are the items on sale, or what type of people are on the network, without registering and logging in.
The problem with this experience is that it is discouraging people from “discovering” the network and choosing to join – and there is too little information available for people to make a good informed choice to register and join the network.
My suggestion for them would be to open-up a little bit more…. show enough content from their auction platform and network to serve as a “trailer” for new members who want to explore the site before registering or participating on it. Also, start a blog and use it to show consistent activity – networks form around exciting activities.
All in all though, it is encouraging to see the auction-space start to heat up, although I am still not fully convinced that the space is primed to take off just yet. Still, it would be interesting to check back here after a few months to see how things are going.