|Founded||London, UK (1999)|
|Industry||Auctions, Electronic commerce|
|Products||Online auction hosting, Online payment systems, Electronic funds transfer|
|Slogan(s)||The UK's 2nd largest online marketplace|
|Type of site||online auction|
|Registration||required to buy and sell|
CQout (pronounced 'Seek You Out') is an online auction company which is based in the UK and trades nationally in over 80 countries.
CQout was launched in 1999 by three London Business School Graduates, namely Tony Newton, founder and creative director, Siamak Bashi, now the company's CEO, and Mike Rees.
By number of items listed, CQout is the UK's 2nd largest online auction website listing around ¼ million in December 2006, ½ million in September 2007 and almost ¾ million in August 2008.
Listing items for auction on CQout is free in order to offer its sellers a 'no sale, no fee' service. A proportion of the final selling price for each item sold via the CQout website is taken as an alternative to charging listing fees. CQout charges a commission on each sale contract relative to its final selling price. This commission is payable by the seller on formation of a contract of sale.
When using CQout's own Secure Pay service, payment is not released to the seller until the goods have reached the buyer and been deemed satisfactory. This enables CQout to prevent any illegitimate transactions from being processed until such time as both sellers and buyers are satisfied with each transaction.
Similar to eBay's feedback system for combating auction fraud, CQout has also addressed these issues with their own anti fraud initiative. This comes in the form of their 'CQ trusted' medal. Sellers are only granted this medal if (among other criteria):
a) the seller is known to CQout and/or has a good trading track record
b) the seller is known to be genuine and honest
c) the seller is reliable and provides above average customer service.
CQout have an ‘anti-sniping’ feature which allows sellers to obtain the true selling price of their goods. This feature avoids disadvantaging buyers who are using a slower internet connection. The 'anti sniping' feature automatically extends the closing time of an auction to allow buyers on slower dial up internet connections to catch up.
So long as an item is permitted for sale under English & Welsh law, such an item is permitted for listing on CQout's auction website. CQout ensures that viewing and bidding access to any adult materials is restricted to 'logged in' users only. Logged in members are by definition over 18 years of age as credit/debit card details are required to attain log in details. Such cards are not available until the holder is 18 years of age.
The website has an ISBN search function. This allows buyers to search for the unique International Standard Book Identifier (ISBN) code which identifies the majority of publications since its induction in 1966.
It has been reported that some of the busier areas of the site can be slow to load at peak times. Also, CQout does not have a forum where its users could benefit from being part of a CQout community.
The listing pages on CQout are in alphabetical order (unlike eBay), making it harder to know which auctions are ending soonest.
All users, regardless of whether selling or simply buying, must pay a £2 registration fee to use the website, unlike competitors which are free to buy from.