To get a good deal on an online auction through eBay, many bidders place their bid as close to the end of the auction as possible. eBay allows you to place your final bid during the last few seconds of an auction, a practice known as sniping. Instead of having to wait until the end of an auction you want to win, and manually placing a last-minute bid, you can sign up for an online sniping service to automatically do it for you.
Sign up for an online auction sniping service account for eBay auctions. eBay itself does not offer this service, but third-party companies do. Some of these companies charge a small fee for this service, while some offer bid sniping for free. One company, Auction Sniper, charges one per cent of the final price of the item if you win the auction (using their service) on eBay. They charge a minimum fee of 10p for items under £16, and a maximum fee of £6.40 for items with a final price of £650 or more, as of January 2011. AuctionStealer, another sniping service, offers a limited free service, which includes a set amount of bids per week that you can automatically set to snipe for free. They also offer a priority service for unlimited bid sniping which you must pay for by the month.
Enter your eBay login information into your online sniping account profile, so the service can access your eBay account and enter your bid automatically when you wish to snipe an online auction. You will also need to enter your e-mail address, first and last name, and payment information, unless you choose to use a free service account.
Copy the item number from the eBay auction you wish to bid on. You can find this 12-digit number in the right-hand side of the auction description page under "other item info." Once you have set up and logged into your online sniping account, select the option to add an auction. Enter the eBay auction number in the space that asks for the item number.
Enter the amount you wish to spend on the auction and provide that in the space that asks for the amount of your bid. The sniping service will enter this in as your final bid, just as you would manually. Choose the maximum amount you wish to spend, as others may snipe the auction, too.
Select the lead time for the auction bid in seconds, usually between three and ten seconds. This time represents how many seconds before the end of the auction the service will place the bid for you. AuctionStealer allows those with free accounts a lead time of no less than ten seconds and those with paid accounts a lead time of no less than three seconds. Auction Sniper allows you to choose this number yourself, but recommends at least five seconds to allow for any lags in the eBay system (so you do not miss the bid due to a technical glitch).
Save your bid in your sniping account. Wait to see if you win the auction. Your service will automatically place your bid for you and notify you by e-mail whether you won the item or were outbid.
Hosted online sniping services will place your bid automatically for you without having to keep your computer on and connected to the Internet, as you have to do with auction sniping software you download to your computer. Save your login information for your sniping account so you can check on the status of your sniped bids.
Avoid services that ask for detailed personal information beyond your name, e-mail address, and eBay login information. Never give your PayPal payment login information to any service. If you win an auction using a sniping service, you must pay for it and abide by the eBay terms of service.
Tips and warnings
- Hosted online sniping services will place your bid automatically for you without having to keep your computer on and connected to the Internet, as you have to do with auction sniping software you download to your computer.
- Save your login information for your sniping account so you can check on the status of your sniped bids.
- Avoid services that ask for detailed personal information beyond your name, e-mail address, and eBay login information.
- Never give your PayPal payment login information to any service.
- If you win an auction using a sniping service, you must pay for it and abide by the eBay terms of service.
- "The New York Times": News Watch: Auctions; How to Outbid the Fanatics: Software That Never Sleeps
- "Wired Magazine": eBay Bidders Sold on Sniping
- "Wired Magazine": Mr. Know-It-All: Shopping on eBay
- Auction Sniper: Payment Information
- AuctionStealer: AuctionStealer Information
- Auction Sniper: Snipe it Now!