My view on Listia is not about its bidding practices which are likely faulty and ill conceived.
But more about the bold faced lie / hypocrisy of their mission statement and services.
"About Us" from Listia.com @ 7 am, 3/13/12
What is Listia?
Listia is an online marketplace where you win other people's stuff using credits instead of money.
When you join Listia, you get 500 credits. You earn more credits
every time you list an item and other users bid on it. Then you can use
your credits to buy cool things other people are giving away.
The highest bidder wins, so each item goes to the person who wants it most! Getting more credits is easy, fun and most importantly, costs nothing!
Who We Are
Listia Inc. was founded in the Spring of 2009 as a Y
Combinator-funded startup. Our goal is to create the largest and most
trusted online marketplace for people to give and get things for free.
We hope you find it both useful and fun!
"Getting more credits is easy, fun and most importantly, costs nothing!" excerpt from about us posted above and on site. about us is essentially a mission statement. but in this case it is just marketing.
as a Listia member for 1 week..
I have had a biased moderator remove an auction which per Listia rules was in my rights to list.
I have listed an auction with a cash value of 4.75 at US AMC's and the highest bidder was for 79 credits.
I have seen countless copyright infringing auctions thrive.
I have seen countless OTHER gift card auctions for lesser values (1-5$) garner over 2000 on average.
aside from the biased actions of site moderators, large flow of illegal copyrighted content, and relatively clique like feel of the site. I find the mission statement I pointed out above most heinous of all.
"Getting more credits is easy, fun and most importantly, costs nothing" are nice marketing words, but if you read the terms of service which indemnify Listia of any wrong doings legally. or if you even just use the site itself, you will find you can complete offers for credits (offers which cost money) or you can directly PURCHASE credits thru PayPal, Visa, MC, Discover or Amex.
The only purpose of these methods is to market for sponsoring companies, and directly benefit from a 'credit' market fraudulently created by a faulty business model based on lies.
the site also sports on-click ads, and banners. which begs to question company motives.
1) if you receive ad revenue from banners, clicks, and selling personal information. why allow cash* into a pure credit/trade market. (*I consider paypal, and any credit medium that you have to pay off cash)
2) as a service provider, why not present a factual about us. instead of this marketing ploy. upfront truthfulness would make this whole report invalid. but you lie.
In summary, If a mission statement contains lies as a marketing ploy. It is a good bet that the service provider does not have your best interests in mind.