For us cyber residents, eBay is the virtual Wal-Mart; it is the next door shop where I can get the thing I desire, for the price I dreamt of. While the former part of the previous sentence is true to an extent, the latter part, about the price, might not always be correct. There are instances where I put a bid on eBay and such online auction sites assuming that the bid I placed is the highest and then suddenly prior to the closing of the auction, some clever person just outbids me and takes the dream away. I call him a sniper.
A guy (not always a person) sitting just for the target to come out and BOOM! The target is gone. Auction sniping on eBay and other auction sites is a method where the bidder waits until the last, maybe just seconds before, to bid on the auction prior to the auction's close. This often ensures that the snipe bidder's bid precludes competing bids and wins the bid at the lowest price. This technique is being used increasingly by bidders and there are automated bots available to ensure that the snipe bidder win the auction with consistency.
Ebay estimates that approximately 10-15 % of all closed bids are being won today by eBay snipe bidders. They are not complaining, and if some quarters are, their resentment is not very vocal today. The seller is getting the true price, or so he thinks, the middle agency is getting its share of commission; the buyer is living to bid another day. Its guys like me who wait patiently for a long time, for a nice thing to come up, and end up losing it to a last second bid. Snipe bidding at eBay and other auction sites is not without its share of problems. First, the snipe bidder has to be online just at the time the auction is to close.
This becomes a hassle in case of time zone changes. The iPod available at the discounted value might just be lost if the closing time happens to match with your siesta time. To come to your rescue are automated programs called snipe-bots which can be programmed to make the best bid at the time of close of an auction. The next problem is that of available bandwidth and response of the server. Matching the correct time has a lot of variables. The time it takes for your bid to register at eBay, the bandwidth availability at the critical time of placing the bid, the competing sniping software through which others are bidding on the same product, and of course the associated security issues are some of the random variables that have to be taken into account prior to resorting to manual snipe bidding.
There are however, some automated services available on the internet which reside on servers which are always on and provide a timed bid facility. They scan the eBay auction which has been entered at the time of initiation and determine the current winning bid. At the time of close of the auction, they feed another bid with the required amount so that the winning bid is theirs. The software can be used for a variety of auctions like the English auction, the second highest auction and the open auction to name a few.
They are custom made and can also be effectively be used to evade Twain marks, or the symbol entry facility being increasingly used today to evade automated programs. The security of your eBay id and password are however threatened by some not so certified software agents. Snipe bidding is gaining popularity and the sniping software is getting more and more advanced. The advantages of sniping on eBay are many which include prevention of nasty emotional bid wars where people keep bidding and counter biding each other.
This leads to an overpriced auction, not advantageous to the final winner of the bid. The process of the auction is getting automated and soon it just might become a case of a software winning against another on eBay. Snipe bidding is advantageous to an auction bidder and an accepted practice today.
Try it and you might benefit. But for guys like me, we will have to walk to the nearest store get what I desired; at the price the shopkeeper dreamt of.
Isabel Baldry is a freelance writer who writes passionately about a number of subjects. Learn more about snipe bidding on ebay here.