Dubli market themselves as a reverse auction shopping portal with a business opportunity attached for prospective Dubli Business Network Associates.
Dubli is based in Europe and have a market in Europe, the US and more recently Australia. They also seem to have somewhat of a shady failed past in China.
With claims like;
- “Dubli is a business opportunity where anyone can establish their own business in a competitive market; with little if no risk”
- Dubli is “poised to change the rules of the online shopping game”
- The use of “ingenious ideas” by Dubli
- “When DubLi.com takes off, it will go stratospheric” and
- frequent comparisons to eBay’s multi billion dollar business model
you’re probably expecting big things from Dubli. Let’s take a closer look and see if they deliver.
1. Dubli credits
At the heart of the Dubli business model is their credit system. One credit costs US$0.80 cents and can be used in either of the two auction models offered by Dubli.
Credits are bought by Dubli Business Associates and then resold to retail customers. The retail customers then use the credits to participate in the auctions Dubli offers.
2. The Dubli business opportunity
The Dubli business opportunity is available to anyone who signs up as a Dubli Network Business Associate and purchases an e-Biz kit for $175 USD.
The Dubli Business Associate then purchases credits in packages at a 5% discount and resells them onto other Business Associates or retail customers.
Depending on the level of the Business Associate commission is earned when these credits are spent in the auctions or resold by the Business Associates they were initially resold to.
Whilst the selling of products is tied into the Dubli shopping portal itself, it is clear that to make any money Dubli Business Associates will have to market and sell credits. Without the constant selling of this virtual commodity a Business Associate is unable to make any money.
Selling Dubli credits to retail customers and other Business Associates is the core business of being a Dubli Network Business Associate.
3. The Dubli reverse auctions
As mentioned earlier, the core of Dubli’s business model is their selling of credits for use in what they call reverse auctions. Taken specifically from the Dubli website;
DubLi.com – a reverse auction portal for high level
Wikipedia defines reverse auctions as an auction where “sellers compete to obtain business, and prices typically decrease over time“.
In a Dubli.com auction it is the buyers who compete against each other in order to theoretically lower the price of the auction. Aside from clearly not falling within the definition of a reverse auction to begin with, the catch with Dubli’s style of auction is that it costs bidders each time they wish to compete against each other.
Two types of auctions are offered by Dubli, ‘Xpress’ and ‘Unique Bid’.
In the Dubli Xpress auctions an item is set at a fixed starting price. Bidders can then use credits to view the current price of an item and then decide whether to purchase it or not.
Each credit spent to view the current price on an item decreases it’s current selling price by 25 cents.
ie. An item is initially priced at $5.oo. You spend a credit and the get to view the item’s price, which is now $4.75. If you pass and someone else comes along and chooses to spend a credit and view the price they now see it for $4.50 and so on.
It’s worth noting that if you don’t buy the item, the credit spent to view the current price is dead money, or to put it more accurately pure profit for Dubli.
In Dubli’s Unique Bid auctions, items are auctioned off within a set time limit. This time limit is known to bidders and the winner of the auction is the person who has the lowest unique bid. Bids can be made in increments of $0.25c.
I’m not entirely sure what happens if there is no lowest unique bid. Say for example nobody bids above $5.00 for an item but every bid $5.oo and lower has multiple bidders.
Again it’s worth noting that if you don’t win an auction the money spent on bidding is gone. For items costing hundreds or thousands of dollars and the ability to place multiple bids at a time (up to 1000 at once), this could wind up being a costly venture.
From a business associate perspective there does seem to be a level of risk in that you are trading the virtual commodity of Dubli credits, of which the value is directly tied into the company itself.
You put in an order with a tradable currency and in return you receive virtual stock that is worth nothing if Dubli goes bust. This is the biggest risk I think people should be taking into consideration when deciding to join Dubli.
As of yet I haven’t even looked at the compensation plan.
For buyers (and potential customers if you’re a business associate), the very real risk is there that due to the nature of Dubli’s auctions it’s quite easy to pump a lot of money into them and not win anything.
As a customer experiencing this on a repeat basis isn’t going to see me sticking around for long.
Whilst the shopping experience on Dubli might be dubbed ‘fun’, spending money and having nothing to show for it isn’t really a successful long term satisfaction model for your customers.