What to Expect on Penny Auction Sites

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He has won a 50-inch high-definition plasma TV worth $1,800 that he got for $425 and a Nikon D90 camera priced around $1,100 that he got for $300. But he told ABC News the auction item he enjoyed winning the most was spending $50 for a toy train set that his two children love.

Silverman said he hopes new players do not make the same mistake as he did, including bidding too early, bidding on a high-ticket item first without understanding penny auctions and expecting to win the most popular items. Silverman said he first bid on an X-box game system and lost. He said he lost over $350 during his first week.

"It should be like going to county fair. When you buy tokens and don't win, you don't get upset there," he said. "This is the same deal. I learned how to enjoy the experience."

He said users should view penny auction sites as entertainment, much like a carnival game, but not spend more on something than it is worth.

Fans of the sites say they are not negative-sum games if you don't spend more than you plan on the entertainment aspect of the auction.

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