The company says it has signed up several Bollywood and regional celebrities for this initiative and will be offering memorabilia from Jacqueline Fernandez, Poonam Pandey, Radhika Pandit, Sudeep, Akash Dasgupta and Neetu Chandra among others in coming weeks.
At the time of writing this article, the service is auctioning two products – a skeleton bike used by the Kannada movie star Puneet Rajkumar in one of his earlier movies and a T-shirt owned by the Bollywood movie star Jacqueline Fernandez. Its worth noting that Times Mobile has a tie-up with Puneet Rajkumar for Follo and other Times Mobile properties.
The auctions are time-limited and users can bid for these products through StarAuction’s website, Follo’s mobile app or through WAP. We also noticed that these auctions are being prominently showcased on the homepage of the Follo website. During the auction process, the company says it will be alerting users via SMS and email whenever they are outbid by another user.
Paid Auctions: One can register for the service by providing requisite details like name, email and mobile numbers or login with their Facebook credentials. What’s interesting though is bidding for these products is not free: one has to purchase a bid pack before placing their first bid. The company currently offers two bid packs – 6 month pack priced at Rs 149 and a 12 month pack priced at Rs 249. There is however no limit on the number of bids one can submit during this period.
Winners can pay the bid amount either through credit or debit card or through demand drafts within 15 days of the auction closing and the company will be shipping the products within 30 days of receiving the full payment. What’s worth noting here is the winner will have to bear the cost of shipping and insurance of these products.
Kambola: Its worth noting that Times Mobile also operates another online auction service called Kambola, however it works on a reverse auction model wherein the most unique among the lowest of bids wins the item. This is quite opposite to Star Auctions which works on a forward auction model wherein the highest bidder wins the item.
Through this, Times Mobile is probably trying to create an alternate revenue stream for its Follo service, which is currently dependent on the declining mobile VAS revenues from telco partners like Airtel, BSNL, Tata DOCOMO and Vodafone.
While the company has rightfully chosen the popular celebrity segment for this initiative, we are curious to see whether the service will witness good participation from Follo users. That being said, we are familiar with several instances where consumers have paid an ridiculous amount of money to purchase celebrity merchandise.