The New Frontier of Selling Your Things Online: Real-Time Auctions

Recently, I stumbled upon a site that not only allows you to post/sell your things online but it does so in real-time. Gone are the days of posting an item on eBay and waiting up to 7 days to see if your item will sell: On this site you can know in as little as 2 minutes how much you’ll be receiving!

Before you think this is yet another “best of selling online” claim, consider that I spend the majority of my time writing and researching on and for the web; I’m not about to sell you on the next fad that will be here & gone before you even figure out how to set up a profile on the site. However, I’m all about fun, easy ways to make extra money in a creative way–especially if it helps you get rid of that unwanted clutter taking up precious space in your home!

If you haven’t heard of it before, consider taking a quick look at Tophatter, the virtual auction house that has dubbed itself the “word’s most entertaining live marketplace.”

After spending just a few minutes watching the cartoon icons bop up & down as the virtual auctioneer describes the item for sale in small, Twitter-esque captions, I was sold on the idea of using Tophatter to make some cash during my upcoming spring cleaning extravaganza.

What is Tophatter?

Tophatter is an online auction site where buyers and sellers can interact during short, real-time auctions of a wide variety of goods that have included clothing, jewelry, electronics, crafts, decor and even food. Users can set up profiles for buying and/or selling. The best part of these profiles? You get to create a fully customized avatar that will represent you on the screen (think The Sims go to the auction–complete with hair, clothes and your choice of colors).

How does Tophatter work?

On the screen, you’ll see a slew of cartoon characters standing in a group in front of the animated auctioneer. When a new item (lot) comes up for sale, the seller’s avatar comes up front with the auctioneer and the item is announced via a small caption bubble. Once the auction begins, the seller can type further description of the item, answer questions or try to spark some interest in his/her item during a real-time chat function (buyers can also utilize the chat feature to pose questions or get more information about a particular item). The item itself is featured in a small box to the right of the auction crowd, along with the shipping information.

Auctions typically last two minutes or less and you can bid simply by clicking the “Bid X dollars” button if you’re logged into the site as a buyer. As with any auction, the auctioneer’s job is to move the items quickly and they will call for any final bids right before the auction closes. It is possible that the item won’t receive any bids (I saw this happen 3 times in 20 minutes), so that item is cleared off the screen and the next one comes up.

How to make money using Tophatter

Besides the obvious posting of your own items to sell on Tophatter, you can also make money by referring friends. While it’s always a good thing to consider the benefits of potentially spamming your friends’ inboxes before you send those emails, Tophatter utilizes more of a ‘pay it forward’ approach–for every friend you refer who signs up, you both receive $5. Considering that most of the items on the site sell for between $10-$30, it won’t take long before you have enough credits to purchase some free gifts off the site.

You can also receive $10 off your first $11 purchase simply by signing up as a new member. Create your profile today and enjoy the new era of game-themed, online marketplaces.


Good luck, Penny Hoarders!