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Agreed, Sniping is a strategy, not a guarentee...

No sniper can outbid you if you place a higher bid, no matter when they hit.

Absolutely! That is the one sure fire way to win an auction and beat the snipers... Bid higher than them. It's not terribly difficult to reason out.

Since it seems you are waiting for the last minute to do your bidding, I wonder WHY WHY WHY(???) don't you bid the maximum amount you want to pay? It is SOOO simple. If the sniper is willing to pay more than your absolut max, then the item would be theirs no matter when they (or you) bid. If your absolut max is higher than theirs, then the watch is yours no matter when they attack. The person who is willing to pay more AND BIDS THAT AMOUT is going to win the watch ANYWAY.

Yup. There are a number of strategies that people can choose to employ when bidding on eBay. Sniping, placing proxy bids early, among others.

The problem with bidding early is that people can chip away at your bid. Sniping (or Stealth bidding) minimizes this.

If you don't know your maximum amount snipping is not going to help you. Bidding "manually" in the last minute is equally effective as snipping, you just need to know your maximum amount. For example if you were snipping with the same amount that you bid manually you'd again lose the auction since someone were bidding for more.

I disagree with Kav here about the effectiveness of bidding manually. Here is the schtick with bidding manually. It can be just as effective snipping, as long as eBay is operating properly, as is your connection to the internet. If your DSL connection goes down, or your power fails or your modem connection is too slow to react you could be disappointed that your high bid would have won if you had been able to post it. That's one of the pitfalls of last minute bidding. If there is a technology glitch somewhere along the line you could be burned. But bidding manually at or near the last minute can minimize the visability of your interest in an item and make it more difficult for competitors to react to your bid. Because, after all, if you bid $500 more than the high bid with 5 minutes left to go, folks would still have 4:50 seconds to pick away at it.

So, we've talked about bidding early and it's pitfalls, and manual bidding, and it's pitfalls. Let's consider Sniping... Sniping is simply bidding at the last minute/seconds/moments of an auction, either manually through a web browser, assisted (or automatically) via an auction/bidding program run on your machine, or via a Auction Bidding service. The rubs here are:

  • with bidding manually at the last minute, not only are you limited others ability to react to your bids, you're limiting your time to react to theirs...
  • with a bidding program, you are adding yet one more piece of technology that can possibly fail, you have to make sure your system's clock is syncronized with the real time, that the program is up to date (eBay changes stuff ALL the TIME), and that you know how to operate it properly.
  • with a bidding service, your bids will only be as reliable and as timely as the service you choose, you have to know how to place bids accurately via their site, most of them are pay services (usually 1% of winning bids), and there is a dead period (usually 5 minutes) before the end of an auction that you can't change your bid... In other words if with 2 minutes left to go you decide against placing a bid, you can't rescind it with a bidding service, you have to ride it out.

So sniping is not a sure fire thing either. Not only can your technology fail you, but there are lots of other snipers out there, sometimes you bag your quary, sometimes even talented snipers get outsniped.

If you are serious about competing in eBay auctions, I'd recommend a multi-leveled approach... I'd recommend becomming really good at placing bids on the fly under pressure with a browser program, I'd recommend looking through the available auction tracking/bidding/sniping software for your platform of choice ( search for eBay), and I'd also recommend you investigate a bidding service (do a Google search on eBay bidding or sniping). For the best way to make sure your bid gets through is to place it through more than one method, so if your bidding service messes up, your snipe program places the bid, and if your bidding program crashes, you can always place a bid via a browser.

Because in the end Sniping is just a strategy, the high bidder (unless someone places a higher bid that isn't 1 bid increment higher than the current bid) always winds.

-- Chuck

Chuck Maddox

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