Bid Sniping on eBay Auctions

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My cell phone is on the fritz and I’ve been trying to snag a cheap one on eBay, but I keep getting outbid. I finally remembered bid sniping software, which I used to use all the time. I logged into my old account, and to my delight I still had some free snipes left! They give you 3 free snipes when you sign up, and another 3 every time you refer someone to the service.

What is bid sniping?
Bid sniping is simply waiting until the last minute of an auction to place a bid. The idea is to get the your bid in, without giving other bidders the chance to re-bid and raise the auction price. The easiest way to do this is with automatic bidding software like AuctionSniper.

Another reason why I like it is that it takes the emotion out of bidding. You must sit down, read the item description carefully, run some price comparions, weigh the feedback rating of the seller, calculate the total cost with shipping, and decide calmly – what the maximum price I am willing to pay? Then, you just fill out the snipe form and walk away. No more bidding wars or rash decisions.

What are the risks?
The main risk is that the auction software will go down, and your bid will not be placed. So sniping is not for that one-of-a-kind item you’ll never see for auction again. But it’s perfect for buying more common items like digital cameras or DVDs.

Also, part of sniping is choosing how close you want to cut it. You can have the program place your bid however many seconds before the auction end you want. But choose at least 5 seconds due to internet traffic, because otherwise your bid might not make it in time. I usually just stick with 7 seconds, and have never missed a snipe.

Finally, you have to give these guys your eBay username and password. So there is the chance they could lose it or abuse it, but I’ve used them for years and they use SSL certificates and are Verisign authenticated, so I’m not really worried about it. For added protection, use their secure login form when signing in.

So… is it free?
I’ve personally never paid for a snipe, but if you run out of free ones, they charge a reasonable fee of 1% of the final auction price, with a minimum of 25 cents and a maximum of $9.95.

So if you haven’t already, try it out! Remember, the first 3 are free. I’m sure that there are other similar sites out there, I just haven’t tried any of them.

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  1. I didn’t know services like that existed. If there’s an auction I really want to win, I’ll set an alarm to go off about 15 minutes before the auction ends. Then, I sign on and bid close to the end of the auction.

  2. How does this work if another bidder has a maximum bid price setup? You bid and then are outbid due to the max bid setup?

  3. FW thread for sniping progs/sites: gives you free 5 bids per week.

  4. ProfessorB – That’s what I used to do too, but this is SO much easier.

    mc – No, the rules still stay the same. If someone has a max bid higher than you, you still lose. The proxy bid will still go through. However, if you truly decided the max you wanted to pay, you should have no regrets.

    LSD – Thanks!

  5. How is it better to bid your max bid 7 seconds before rather than 7 days before–if it IS your _max_ bid?

  6. Because that is the whole point of auctions. It’s in people’s nature to re-evaluate their max bid if they see the price is bid up. Some people just HATE not winning the auction. If they aren’t the highest bid, they’ll re-bid until they are. Otherwise everyone would come in, make one bid, and just wait.

    With 1 minute left in an auction for a cell phone that you want, do you think everyone would bid the same amount if the current high bid was $10 vs. $100? Maybe some would, but many would not. If you’ve been around eBay for a while you’ll see that bidding wars happen ALL the time. Of course as a seller I loved this.

  7. Should have been more explicit. If you use a bid sniper with 7 seconds left, how fast is ebay if there is someone with a max bid setup? Will the auction end before ebay can up the bid for the user with the max bid price setup?

  8. try; it’s free, works great, and the only catch is you have an ad or 2 to look at on the side of the webpage

  9. Anonymous says:

    Ebay bid sniping is ILLEGAL! Read the ebay rules.

    Kool kids…

  10. This software simply bids for you. It doesn’t change any other eBay rule.

    eBay bid sniping is NOT illegal. Show me where it says it is.

  11. I’m waiting… 🙂

  12. of course, you could simply bid yourself the maximum amount you’re willing to bid 7 seconds before the auction ends. You only need a service that reminds you to do it. This way you avoid giving your ebay password to a 3rd party.

  13. eBay does not care about sniping nor investigate sniping complaints. It is NOT illegal.


  14. this is great for auctions that end during the middle of the night or commute times.

  15. christopher yu says:

    (I am a spammer)

  16. There’s no reason why a buyer should place a bid on the eBay system when the auction will end in a few days. All this does is give the auction more exposure — it will get looked at more because it has bids. Sniping services are good in this regard — even if you get outbid, you’re not giving the seller the benefit of more eyeballs because of your bid.

  17. I never got why eBay doesn’t automatically extend an auction 15 minutes everytime a new bid is placed to give the seller a chance at getting the best price possible.

  18. I don’t believe that bidding on an item gives it more exposure. The cheaper an item is, the more exposure it gets. People perceive that there is an opportunity if it appears there has not been much bidding yet, consequently more eyeballs are watching the auction.

    Do your research, set a max price in your mind, and then place your bid without regard to what anyone else is bidding. A sniper is controlled by the emotions related to being a “winner” with the upper hand over others, and the fear of being blindsided and becoming a ?loser?. Emotions cause faulty appraisal of what the item is really worth to you.

  19. try a free unlimited sniper. it is called bidsage. try searching for the download. problem is that yo have to leave you computer connected to the internet, but it is great for high speed users

  20. Jake Igle says:

    Is this message little enough to be one of… lost idea

  21. there is no such thing as bid sniping.

    i agree with Jon, if you bid the max you wanted to spend, and you get outbid by 1 cent or 1 million dollars, then you just simply weren’t willing to pay more for the item. you can get carried away in auctions as with anything else. the good thing is that you had self control to make a limit on your purchase, which is much healthier than to think that you were sniped out of something that you weren’t willing to pay more for in the first place.

  22. If you snipe manually then its perfectly legal so why is employing a tool to do it for you (when you hopefully have better things to do) illegal?

    Regardless of what emotions are involved it’s a fact that people do wait to the end of an auction to bid. So if you program a tool to do it for you then you are only willing to pay a sensible maximum and if everybody did likewise then reasonable prices would be achieved on most items. As it is people often bid silly money for things just because they won’t be beaten.

    It all depends whether you’re buying or selling mad or sensible and not forgettting a winner or loser!?

  23. Nobody told you about Gixen yet? is a free ebay sniper, made by someone “for glory”. He (she?) gets rave reviews, and I haven’t lost a bidding war since I started using it. You don’t have to leave the computer on, and it lets you group bids, so you can bid on similar items simultaneously.

    If you have patience and set yourself a limit (including shipping costs, which vary widely), you can get a great deal on things that are listed a lot, such as cameras.

    Of course I couldn’t stop myself and watched gixen while it sniped for me… but it was far more effective!

  24. I still want an answer to mc’s question, because I’ve been wondering about it too.

    If person one (a sniper) enters a bid with seven seconds left, and person two has set ebay to auto bid for him, and the maximum bid the second person has set for his automatic bid is higher than the sniper’s seven second bid, will ebay’s automatic bidding process incrementally increase the auto bid in time to outbid the sniper? Or could the person auto bidding lose, even though their maximum auto bid was higher than the sniper’s bid?

  25. I use Gixen it a great free sniper has never failed for me 🙂 Won me many auctions

  26. @ John R.

    Disregard whether or not eBay’s system can increase the bid in time because it always will–it needs absolutely no time to automatically increase the bids.

    The person who enters the highest bid the earliest wins the auction.

  27. JP @ TickerWatcher says:

    I use Gixen – always free and has won me many auctions.

  28. I’ve created a completely free (unlimited usage) ebay sniper that I personally use all time time (I’m a big stamp collector) – I would encourage anyone to try it:

    Disclaimer: I associated with the site


  29. cheaper alternative – – which could be used for ebay (but also serves local polish auctions on )

  30. james Regan says:

    Sniping is a great tool to stop shrill bids, nonoen knows what will happen in that last minutes of an auction, the shrill bidder may have to buy his brother or uncles item and he has no track record, dont give shriller the info he needs to know your interested, come in at the end and either take his item, or leave the greedy person having to relist

  31. james Regan says:

    Anonymous Says:
    February 5th, 2006 at 2:36 pm
    Ebay bid sniping is ILLEGAL! Read the ebay rules.

    Kool kids…

    JimmySays – BS- you just got sniped by a dollar and now your pissed, get over it, its not illegal. you read the rules…….

  32. arthur brogard says:

    nobody asked the question about incrementing. does the software bid enough to beat the current highest only or does it always and only bid your maximum – so that you always pay your maximum?

  33. There’s no reason why a buyer should place a bid on the eBay system when the auction will end in a few days. All this does is give the auction more exposure — it will get looked at more because it has bids. Sniping services are good in this regard — even if you get outbid, you’re not giving the seller the benefit of more eyeballs because of your bid.

  34. Alora White says:

    I am a big fan of ebay bid sniper app and always find a new app for my personal use. Last month i have instal Segbay app at my Android Samsung S5. The features segbay app provide are different then others. Download the app from given link and check the difference between Segbay and other Apps.

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