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Open your wallets for online bids

Last updated on: July 25, 2011 11:44 IST

Open your wallets for online bids

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Sohini Sen in Mumbai

Would you like your son to learn how to wield the willow like the Little Master?

Or maybe, talk about trading tricks with Rakesh Jhunjhunwala over lunch?

How about a mobile phone signed by M S Dhoni?

A healthy bank balance and an Internet connection is all that you need to fulfil your dreams.

Online auctions are helping NGOs reach out to thousands of potential bidders.

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Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
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Open your wallets for online bids

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While most common bids are on cars, clothes and celebrity appearances, leading online auction site, eBay India, has found netizens willing to cough up hefty sums for private gym sessions with Salman Khan, sharing a meal with Amitabh Bachchan or cricket coaching camps with Sachin Tendulkar.

"It has been a worldwide hit. You get to enjoy the product and experience as well as feel good about donating to a cause," points Deepa Thomas, head (corporate communications, partnerships, pop culture), eBay India.

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Open your wallets for online bids

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The website started the online charity fundraising programme as part of its corporate social responsibility in January 2005 and has collected around Rs 1.5 crore (Rs 15 million).

With auctions garnering bids as high as Rs 30 lakh (Rs 3 million), online auctions are becoming a lucrative medium to raise awareness for over 65 NGOs among the 100-million internet users in India.

Bidders are also getting comfortable about donating online for a cause.

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Open your wallets for online bids

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Sample this: Gujarat-based trader Anirudh Sethi won a lunch with Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, after he placed the winning bid of Rs 14.2 lakh (Rs 1.4 million).

"I regularly take part in auctions globally, but this one caught my eye right on the last day of the auction. I knew this experience was not something I could just buy off the market." The lunch, which saw 90 bids from India, Hong Kong and Germany, finally went to Sethi.

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Open your wallets for online bids

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The process is simple: A start price is decided by the seller and put up on the site's auction page.

A start time is also mentioned, which is basically the time within which one can bid -- three days, five days or even 10 days.

All one has to do, is place a bid above the start price.

There is also a provision to opt for an auto-bid, where the computer bids automatically on your behalf everytime there is a counter bid, leaving you free from checking the screen every hour.

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At the end of the auction, the highest bidder wins.

"Today's tech-savvy young users are increasingly turning to the Internet for everything -- from information to entertainment, buying products to staying connected to friends.

"And we believe that the Internet offers a great platform to reach out to and connect with our target audience.

"Moreover, through this auction we are also extending support to a social cause -- the M S Dhoni Charitable Foundation," says Ajjay Agarwal, chairman and managing director, Maxx Mobiles.

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The company has recently partnered with eBay to auction exclusive handsets autographed by Dhoni.

With such high amounts involved, the payment does not always take place online.

Though smaller amounts are paid on the Net or mobile banking, most transactions above Rs 13,00,000 to Rs 14,00,000 is paid through a demand draft.



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