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Penny bidding site Smokoo was always a little bit controversial. You were never sure whether you were on a legitimate auction platform or a gambling site. And now it’s been shut down after being bought out by South African auction company Bidfair.
Users trying to get onto Smokoo are currently greeted with a message informing them of the shut down and that they will “be required to manually register a new account with Bidfair”, where all of the existing bids have been moved to.
The notice adds that Smokoo users have “a maximum of 60 days” to register with BidFair.
BidFair meanwhile welcomed Smokoo users with a page informing them of all the features on the site. “Every day, 24/7, you’ll be able to score the very latest in gadgets, travel packages and more at close to 99% OFF the retail price! At BidFair we strive to give you an exciting auction experience with fair competition, no restrictions and friendly services,” it says before going on to explain the registration process in greater detail.
Speaking to IT Web, Smokoo founder Thomas Pays, said he and his team are working on a new project set to launch in the coming weeks.
Smokoo joined the market with a mysterious viral campaign in the latter half of 2010. From there it grew rapidly to have presences in the US, France, Russia and the UK.
BidFair, which has also been around since 2010, isn’t exactly short on chutzpah. It calls itself “the latest craze to take South Africa by storm”. The company site describes its founders as “a group of tech savvy, marketing guru’s with a vision of making the online auction scene more exciting, rewarding and fair for the bidders”.
With the acquisition of Smokoo it stands a real chance of taking on the likes of Bidorbuy. That’s if, and only if, Smokoo’s users decide to make the change.