If you’ve ever watched the bidding on an eBay item and wondered how some people manage to put the highest bid in just a couple of seconds before the auction closes, outbidding everyone else before they have chance to react, chances are they’re using some eBay sniping software.
According to Wikipedia, auction sniping is:
the process of watching a timed online auction (such as on eBay), and placing a winning bid at the last possible moment (often seconds before the end of the auction), giving the other bidders no time to outbid the sniper.
Interestingly, Wikipedia also has some research on why this might be a good idea on certain auctions:
Economic analysis of sniping suggests that it is a rational gain-maximizing (i.e., price-minimizing) strategy for bidders in auctions which fulfill two criteria: 1) the end time is rigidly fixed (such as those on eBay), and 2) it is possible to gain additional information about the “true” value of the item by inspecting previous bids. For example, a novice antiques buyer may prefer to bid in auctions which already have bids placed by more experienced antiques buyers, on the grounds that the items which the experienced buyers are interested in are more likely to be valuable. In this case, more informed buyers may delay bidding until the last minutes of the auction to avoid creating competition for their bids, leading to a lower winning bid. Analysis of actual winning bids on eBay suggests that winning bidders are more likely to have placed a single bid late in the auction, rather than placing multiple incremental bids as the auction progresses.
Anyhow, enough of the economic theory behind it, rather than sitting at your PC waiting for the end of the auction to submit your bid, how can you do a bit of eBay sniping?
eBay Sniping Software
As with many things, the hard work has been taken out of this thanks to some software which can sometimes be found for free, although more sophisticated snipers will probably require software with greater functionality, which often require paying for.
As you’re required to hand over your eBay username and password for these tools to place bids on your behalf, it’s worth reading some reviews of each tool before entering your account details.
For more auction sniping tips and tools, head on over to Techradar.
photo credit: Ryan Fanshaw Photography
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