Pay to bid auction sites
Cousins Matt and Elliott Donazzan have always had passion for business, and together they developed the idea for One Cent. Matt’s university background in economics and past start-up experience were the foundation for the company, while Elliott’s track record with a previous auction business helped develop their concept.
They started with www.OneCentFlights.com because they both love to travel. Australians really find travel exciting, and this matched perfectly with their auction concept. Their business is built about fun, enjoyment and experiences with your friends and family (after all, that is what travel is all about isn’t it!).
They wanted to extend the business into other areas, and thought that the wine industry would be another exciting business to be involved in.
Q. Describe your business and products/services you offer.
We’re a pay-to-bid auction site featuring flights and travel packages (www.onecentflights.com), and luxury wines (www.onecentwines.com). We’ve auctioned around $500,000 in holidays and over a thousand bottles of wine.
Our auctions are very exciting and a completely new way to shop online.
Each bid placed raises the auction price by $0.01. Users must use a token every time they place a bid. All users get 5 free tokens when they sign up, and we give users additional free tokens if they respond to offers or engagements. Users are also able to purchase additional tokens at prices of up to $1 per token.
Some auctions for flights this month have ended at:
• London return $2.48
• Hawaii Return $3.83
• Fiji Return $3.66
These sort of prices happen frequently, we rarely see flight auctions ending above $50.
Q. How long have you been in business?
One Cent was founded in October 2012, by young cousins and business partners, Elliott & Matt Donazzan. Matt and Elliott both had experience in business prior to this.
Q. How many hours a week do you work in your business?
We both work 6 days per week, up to 12 hours per day.
Q. What kind of online and offline marketing do you do and which is working for you?
We have succeeded in marketing our concept across Australia, and plan to continue to maximise growth by running innovative marketing campaigns. We are firmly of the view that the best way to communicate to customers is digitally, and so don’t have any immediate plans to spend on traditional marketing.
Online social media has been an important focus for us. We have a presence across all major social media platforms (@onecentflights and @onecentwines in most platforms) and have 50,000 followers on our Facebook. We use social media to maintain an open dialogue with users. It allows us to respond to customer requests, and communicate exciting developments!
Q. What mistakes have you made in running your business and what lessons have you learnt from those?
I would have built a more comprehensive web site to launch with – foregoing a traditional staged-growth web site build and instead built a scalable auction system straight away. Within a week of launch we had figures like one signup every few seconds – this created technical challenges and meant that we had to invest significantly in upgrading our infrastructure to handle the demand. Two months since public launch we have rebuilt our site to handle the “new normal”, which has allowed us to now refocus on marketing our business and adding new offers and features to our loyal customers.
Q. How has your website helped you run your business?
The business is purely online, so without the website, there would be no business.
Q. What obstacles or challenges are you facing at the moment?
We have recently launched internationally into New Zealand and have further plans for international expansion. Although we’re working in the online space, different countries and cultures have different expectations and tastes, so our priority now is tailoring our customer experience and products to these new markets.