As eBay is using proxy bidding, legitimate
question is - why snipe at all? If you submit your bid at eBay
early, and if your maximum bid is higher than that of a sniping user, you will win
regardless. While this fact is true, user experience and even some scientific
research conducted says that sniping does pay. Here are some reasons why.
- Your early bid is an important
information for other bidders. This specially applies to rare items, value
of which is directly determined by interest. Other bidders may realize
true value of an item only after you submit your bid. By bidding early,
you are helping them, and that's against your own interest.
- Bidders tend to be overly optimistic, and therefore enter
value lower than what they are really ready to pay. Leave them time to bid
again after being outbid, and you will end up paying more, or lose the
item you are bidding on.
- Bidders get excited during auctions, and are often
ready to bid way more than what is rational.
- Ever been victim of shill bidding? It's a fraudulent practice
used by some sellers to inflate the price of
an item by using another eBay ID to bid on their
own item (and retracting bid if they go too far. Be especially careful if
bidders' IDs are kept private). If you use sniping, fraudulent sellers
have no time to conduct shill bidding.
- You can change your mind at any time before auction ends by deleting your
scheduled snipe. This is much easier than retracting a bid on eBay.
When is sniping not desirable?
It's almost always good for you to use sniping. In the worst case, you may end up paying
a tiny fraction more, because early bidder has a small advantage in fact
that your bid has to be a bit higher (search for "Bidding increments" in eBay help),
however situations 1-4 above by far outweigh this. Generally, less known the
fair value of an item, it's more beneficial to use sniping.
How can I snipe auctions?
There are three main ways to do this:
- Do it yourself at eBay. Wait
until 10 seconds before the end, and then submit your bid.
Install software for automated bid submission.
Much better than 1.
- Disadvantage of this approach:
You may be late. Typical situation: you try to do it, and then
eBay asks you to re-login. Sure, you can do it, but
by the time you are done, your auction already ended.
- Disadvantage: You must be
present and alert. If auction ends in the middle of the night, or if you
are busy at work, you just can't do it.
- Advantage: Some people find it
Online sniping services. Best solution.
- Advantage: It's automated and
it's less likely you will be late.
- Disadvantage: You are installing software on your computer. Make sure it's
from a reputable source and spyware/adware free.
- Disadvantage: Your computer
has to be on.
- Disadvantage: If you have an
unreliable internet connection (56k modem? unreliable ISP?), there is still very high
probability your submission will be late.
- Advantage: Most reliable
sniping. Hosted servers have way more reliable connection than you do at
- Advantage: Set it and forget
it. Turn your computer off, and do something else.
- Disadvantage: You may feel
uneasy about sharing your eBay username and
password with a third party. There is no way around it, as online sniping
services need your login info in order to submit a bid for you.
There is a number of paid software and online services you can use for
sniping. Make an online search and you will find plenty.
Here I will only list free ones:
Free sniping software: JBidWatcher.
Free sniping service: Gixen.
Good luck with your sniping!