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Type of businessPrivate company
HeadquartersJohannesburg, South Africa
Key peopleAndy Higgins, Director; Craig Lubbe, CEO
IndustryInternet Online marketplaces
ProductsOnline auction hosting Inc

bidorbuy or (officially written as one word, all-lowercase; variations: bid or buy, BidOrBuy and Bid or Buy) is an English-language e-commerce website based on an internet auction and online marketplace model allowing individuals and businesses to trade with each other. Transactions on bidorbuy are in South African rands.


bidorbuy was first launched by Andy Higgins in August 1999 at the height of the dotcom boom, in Higgins’ native South Africa. The initial seed funding and continued support were provided by Professor Yair Tauman, Professor Abraham Neyman, Mr Danny Barnea and Mr Zohar Gilon. bidorbuy was officially launched with a massive marketing campaign in January 2000, led by Nitzan Tal as the managing director, and within months made bidorbuy one of the leading e-businesses and one of the strongest internet brands in South Africa. This campaign won 2 APEX awards for the 2000 launch campaign. Between February and April, 2000 Nitzan Tal launched the websites in India and Australia. In 2001, after the dotcom crash, the Australian site was closed and the Indian one merged with the former main competitor, (which was bought by eBay in 2004[1]). In October 2001 Higgins went on to run the South African operation. At the slowest point, the company employed only one other person. From 2005 things started to change with the adoption of broadband, always-on internet access by businesses and private users in South Africa. soon became the largest online marketplace of its kind in South Africa and Africa.[2] In 2010, bidorbuy made an investment into,[3] a local online payment solutions company. In May 2014 bidorbuy invested into the e-commerce company[4]

Basic concept[edit]

bidorbuy follows the eBay business model. It is an online auction site and marketplace where users, buyers and sellers, transact with each other. Anyone over the age of 18 can transact on the site, providing they respect the site’s terms and conditions.[5] The aim of the consumer-to-consumer auction sites and marketplaces like bidorbuy is to supply a trading model that enables small retailers, or even hobby sellers, to be seen by a larger audience of potential customers, who may be geographically distant. For buyers, such sites supply a place to go to buy commodities at discounted prices, second-hand items or difficult to find collectibles.

Types of users[edit]

Buyers and sellers[edit]

After registering on the site and activating the account, anyone over the age of 18 can become a buyer on bidorbuy. New users can also start selling immediately as basic sellers, with restricted scope of activities. Advanced sellers need to have their bank or credit card details confirmed.

Verified users[edit]

Both sellers and buyers can become verified users after submitting a copy of their ID book, signed indemnity form and paying a fee for having their credit standing checked out. Verified users are identified with a green tick mark next to their user name. Only purchases from verified sellers fall under the bidorbuy Buyer Protection Programme, which offers a limited compensation to buyers under specific conditions.[6]


All registered users may participate in the bidorbuy Affiliate Programme. For bidorbuy affiliates to earn commission, the newly registered users referred from an affiliate’s web site, blog or invitation email message have to bid on an auction, buy an item at a fixed price, or list an item for sale within 60 days of registration. If a visitor sent to bidorbuy is already a registered user, the referring site gets a small commission every time such a user places a bid on bidorbuy.[7]

Rating System[edit]

The rating system is meant to give buyers and sellers an idea about the reputation of their prospective trading partner before concluding a transaction on the site. Buyers rate sellers based on the service and the quality of the product, and sellers rate buyers on the basis of prompt payments and ease of transaction. There are three kinds of ratings on bidorbuy: positive, negative and neutral. For every positive, the users receive a point. For every negative, they lose a point. There is no effect from a neutral rating.[8]

Items traded on the site[edit]

Trading in collectible items, mainly in the auction format, was the foundation on which bidorbuy was built. While collectible items, notably South African coins, stamps, antiques, etc. are still very popular, bidorbuy has branched out into other categories, to encompass all imaginable products that can be traded in legally. In 2008, bidorbuy focused on developing its car section, attracting many car dealerships to list on the site, making it one of the biggest online car shop windows in South Africa. Later on in 2008 the property section of the site was expanded when trade feeds from several online property agencies were incorporated into bidorbuy. There is a purposeful endeavour on the part of the company to distance itself from a site that only offers second-hand bric-a-brac and instead to grow the trade in brand-new items of mass consumption. To that end, bidorbuy has enabled the sellers who have their own e-commerce sites to integrate their shopping cart with bidorbuy and largely automate the listing procedure. As of January 2012, bidorbuy had 32 main categories, each with several sub-categories. With the property subcategories, which are ordered by cities and even suburbs, the total number of categories and subcategories surpassed 3,000.

Trading formats[edit]

  • Auctions. In the beginning, bidorbuy featured only online auctions.
  • Buy Nows. In 2001, bidorbuy introduced the buy now format for selling items at fixed prices.
  • Classifieds. In 2005, bidorbuy introduced a classifieds section where sellers can display items that may not lend themselves easily for sale on the internet, like second-hand cars, property and services.
  • Buy Nows and Auctions with Make an Offer. In May 2015, bidorbuy introduced a Make an Offer functionality, first for Buy Nows and later on for Auctions, which allows buyers and sellers to negotiate the price.
  • Auctions with Buy Now. In November 2015, bidorbuy gave sellers the option to include a Buy Now price in their auction listings.

Payment Methods[edit]

bobPay-EFT (internet transfer) was developed by bidorbuy to enable almost instantaneous internet payments across the four big South African banks: Absa, FNB, Nedbank and Standard Bank (in South Africa, a two or three day delays are a norm in internet banking). bobPay Credit card allows the verified bidorbuy sellers who do not have an internet credit card merchant account to accept credit card payments from customers. Other payment methods are also offered, including shopping on credit and PayPal.[9]


bidorbuy does not charge listing fees for listing an item for sale in the auction or buy now format. A success fee is charged only upon a successful sale of the item. This success fee is calculated as a percentage of the actual purchase value. Items listed in the Classifieds section are not subject to paying the success fee. Instead, the sellers who list their items in the Classifieds pay a flat listing fee. Items listed in any of the trading formats – auctions, buy-now or classifieds – can be “enhanced” (advertised on the home page and other sections of the site on a rotating basis) for a specified flat fee.[10]

Charity fund raising[edit]

bidorbuy allows registered charities or non-profit organisations to raise funds on the site. In 2009, charities raised over R425,000 through sales on this platform.[11] The biggest amount, R300,100 was raised for the Ubuntu Education Fund through the sale of the last VW Citi Golf ever made for the general public by the seller Volkswagen South Africa.[12][13] In the same year, the Celebrities for Charities Auctions event was held on the site, in which 39 celebrities, most notably the archbishop Desmond Tutu, auctioned their time to raise funds for charities.[14] In 2011, several South African celebrities participated in the Celebrity for Charity auctions benefiting charities including Reach for a Dream and Johannesburg Child Welfare.[15] In March 2016, the Vodacom Blue Bulls rugby team auctioned off on bidorbuy 23 pink jerseys signed by the players, with the proceeds going to the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA).[16] The #SamsungHeroes online event, organised on bidorbuy in July 2016 by Samsung South Africa to mark the launch of Samsung Galaxy S7 edge Injustice Edition, saw three pairs of South African celebrities engage in three charitable auction duels. The celebrities competed to see who would raise more funds for the charity they chose, and the participating bidders stood a chance to win one of three Injustice Edition smartphones.[17]

Entrepreneurship advancement activities[edit]

On several occasions, bidorbuy teamed up with institutions of higher learning to promote entrepreneurship among young South Africans. The bidorbuy representatives gave free introductory workshops to students and guided them through the entire cycle of selling online, from sourcing of the goods to the fulfilment of a transaction. The tutorials, under the name The bidorbuy Auction Challenge, were taken by 60 students of the University of Johannesburg Raymond Ackerman Academy of Entrepreneurial Development in January 2010[18] and by 50 students of the Investment Society at the University of Cape Town (InvestSoc) in March 2010.[19] The site reports that up to 20% of the people selling goods on its site now make a living by doing so.[20]

Notable and controversial listings[edit]

  • Plastic surgery procedures auctioned on bidorbuy (July 2000).[21][22]
  • The R5 circulation Mandela coins controversy (July 2008)[23]
  • Unreleased stamps marking the tenure of the President of South Africa President Kgalema Motlanthe (March 2009)[24]
  • A voter tried to auction his vote on bidorbuy (April 2009)[25]
  • Rare ZAR Veldpond coin sold for R450,000 (July 2010)[26]
  • An attempt to sell rough diamonds on bidorbuy (August 2010)[27]
  • A dress worn by DA leader Helen Zille auctioned on bidorbuy for charity (March 2010)[28]
  • An attempt to auction toilet paper with the image of ANCYL leader Julius Malema (November 2010)[29]
  • First Afrikaans vampire film memorabilia auctioned on bidorbuy (June 2011)[30]
  • ANC centenary gold coins listed for sale on bidorbuy (October 2011)[31]
  • Simultaneous chess game with Garry Kasparov auctioned on bidorbuy (October 2011)[32]
  • Vest worn by Justin Bieber auctioned on bidorbuy (June 2013)[33]
  • Edible chocolate painting auctioned on bidorbuy (April 2014).[34]
  • SAHA auctions Shifty Records memorabilia on bidorbuy (September 2014).[35]
  • Dress made out of loom bands auctioned on bidorbuy (December 2014).[36]
  • A Half-a-Million Coin: Bidorbuy (April 2015).[37]
  • Rare coin set to break record in online auction (February 2017).[38]
  • Demand for water related items spikes on bidorbuy as #DayZero draws closer (February 2018). [39]
  • Fifa World Cup sparks interest in soccer memorabilia (June 2018). [40]


  • Public's Favourite E-Commerce Website and Best E-Commerce Services Website in the 2011 Jump Shopping South African E-Commerce Awards.[41]
  • The winner in the Enterprise category of the 2011 Clickatell Personalised Priority Messaging (PPM)Awards[42]
  • Best eCommerce Services Website in the 2012 South African E-Commerce Awards.[43]
  • Best Customer Service Website in the 2013 South African E-Commerce Awards.[44]
  • Best App for Africa on Africacom 2013 - the bidorbuy Android app.[45]
  • Nominee in the MTN business app of the year 2014 - the bidorbuy Android app.[46]
  • Finalist in the App Circus 2014 - the bidorbuy Android app.[47]
  • Best eCommerce Services Platform in the 2014 South African E-Commerce Awards.[48]
  • Best eCommerce Services Platform in the 2015 South African E-Commerce Awards.[49]
  • Best Online Market Platform in 2016 South African E-Commerce Awards.[50]
  • Best Online Market Platform in 2017 South African E-Commerce Awards.[51]


  1. ^ eBay India Management Archived 25 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Your Guide to Buying and Selling on bidorbuy, Zebra Press, 2009 Archived 19 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine ISBN 978-1-77022-052-2
  3. ^ "Bidorbuy acquires stake in PayFast". Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  4. ^ Writer, Staff. "Cloud e-commerce service raises $1.5mn in funding - ITWeb Africa". ITWeb Africa. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  5. ^ "Terms And Conditions of This Site". Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  6. ^ "Become a Verified User - Building trust and security - Powered by Kayako Help Desk Software". Archived from the original on 8 August 2012. Retrieved 16 August 2018. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  7. ^ "The bidorbuy Affiliate Programme - Earn Extra Money - Powered by Kayako Help Desk Software". Archived from the original on 10 February 2012. Retrieved 16 August 2018. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  8. ^ "The Rating System - Powered by Kayako Help Desk Software". Archived from the original on 17 April 2012. Retrieved 16 August 2018. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  9. ^ "BidorBuy adds Paypal payments". Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  10. ^ "Fee Rate Card - What We Charge - Powered by Kayako Help Desk Software". Archived from the original on 9 February 2012. Retrieved 16 August 2018. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  11. ^ Barnard, David (6 January 2010). "Bidorbuy users raise over R425 000 for NGOs in 2009". NGO Pulse. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  12. ^ "Citi Mk1 and Goodbye Citi Tour" (PDF). 2 November 2009. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  13. ^ "Last Citi Golf goes for R300 000". 8 December 2009. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  14. ^ NickyR. "Celebrities on sale for charity". Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  15. ^ "Date a celebrity for charity". Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  16. ^ #BullsFamily Get their Pink on for CANSA
  17. ^ "SA celebrities battle it out for charity on bidorbuy". Media Update. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  18. ^ Crazy Auction Challenge Video
  19. ^ "Bidorbuy auction challenge for students". Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  20. ^ "SA auction site turns sellers into business owners". BiztechAfrica. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  21. ^ "BBC News | AFRICA | SA plastic surgery web auction". Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  22. ^ "South Africa: Bidorbuy To Auction Plastic Surgery In Kwazulu-Natal". Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  23. ^ Stevic, Lana. "Mandela money: Spend it or keep it?". The M&G Online. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  24. ^ Rossouw, Mandy. "Motlanthe's stamps of approval". The M&G Online. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  25. ^ "My DigitalLife: Vote for sale". Archived from the original on 10 November 2009. Retrieved 9 February 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  26. ^ The Good News South Africa Rare South African coin sells for 450,000 on bidorbuy
  27. ^ "Enabling all Africans to invest in stock markets". Moneyweb. 4 May 2017. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  28. ^ The Times Live Helen’s going, going gown Archived 13 January 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^ News iAfrica com: Website pulls loo paper
  30. ^ Screen Africa: Fangs auctioned from Afrikaans vampire film
  31. ^ "Business Day". Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  32. ^ "Online auction site gives bidders chance to play chess grandmaster - Memeburn". Memeburn. 31 October 2011. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  33. ^ "Bieber's sweaty vest worth thousands". Channel24. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  34. ^ "TechFinancials - Reliable Tech News". TechFinancials. Archived from the original on 9 February 2015. Retrieved 16 August 2018. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  35. ^ "SAHA - South African History Archive - Shifty memorabilia on BidorBuy". Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  36. ^ "TimesLIVE". Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  37. ^ "A Half-a-Million Coin: Bidorbuy | TechFinancials". TechFinancials. 20 April 2015. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  38. ^ "Rare coin set to break record in online auction | IT News Africa – Africa's Technology News Leader". Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  39. ^ "Demand for water related items spikes on bidorbuy as #DayZero draws closer | IT News Africa – Africa's Technology News Leader".
  40. ^ "Fifa World Cup sparks interest in soccer memorabilia - Times Live".
  41. ^ Jump Shopping 2011 South African E-Commerce Awards Archived 22 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  42. ^ "SA's bidorbuy wins international award | The Media Online". Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  43. ^ "2012 Winners | eCommerce Awards". Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  44. ^ "2013 Winners | eCommerce Awards". Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  45. ^ "Africacom 2013 award winners". Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  46. ^ "Vote for your favourite app in MTN Business App of the Year Awards -". 29 July 2014. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  47. ^ "AppCircus developers' competition announces South African finalists -". 8 September 2014. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  48. ^ "South Africa's Best eCommerce Retailers Announced at's eCommerce Awards - Articles". Articles. 9 September 2014. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  49. ^ "Best e-commerce stores in South Africa". Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  50. ^ "All the e-commerce winners … | IT-Online". Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  51. ^ "These companies won big at the 2017 PriceCheck Awards - Memeburn". Memeburn. 15 September 2017. Retrieved 16 August 2018.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]