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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

My peeps, some of you are driving me crazy with your complaints about losing eBay auctions at “the last second.” If you are serious about winning anything, you must snipe. A snipe is an automated, last-second bid. The people who are beating you out are most likely using sniping services (which eBay finds perfectly “legal”). As you know, it’s very difficult to manually place a bid in the last millisecond of the auction. If you’re up against software, you’ll lose every time.


An advantage of sniping is that you enter your maximum bid into the sniping program and not eBay. Every time you enter a higher bid on eBay you are running the price up. Normally, you bid, and then someone else bids, and then you bid again, and so on, and all the while the item is getting more expensive until finally a sniper wins at the end, albeit at a much higher price than s/he would have paid if you hadn’t been playing this little game. It’s a penny-wise and pound-foolish way to bid.

With sniping, you can cancel a bid (which you can’t do on eBay) or make it contingent on another bid. In the latter case, you can make bids on multiple items and say that if this one wins, automatically cancel the other(s).

If you snipe, one thing to keep in mind is that you have to enter a serious maximum bid, because if you bid way too low there’s no chance to redeem yourself. If you’re going to bid here, for instance, keep in mind that it unusual to get an old Ossie for under $1000. Just because the price stands at 54 pounds does not mean you should snipe at 100 pounds. Well, you can, it’s just a waste of a snipe.

You can search for sniping services online; there are plenty out there. I’ve always used Bidnapper.

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35 Responses to “Snipe, Dammit!”

  1. enc says:

    I have much to learn! Thanks for sharing this.

  2. La Belette Rouge says:

    I gave up the Ebaying because I cannot be trusted to set reasonable limits. I would set a dollar limit for myself on how much I was willing to spend and then someone would pass my limit and I would turn into a crazy competitive shopper who no longer wanted object x–but instead I didn’t want other person to take it from me.

  3. K.Line says:

    You are a role model to us all Wendy… K

  4. Sharon Rose says:

    Thanks for that very useful piece of info, Wendy-you are quite right regarding the Ossies-prices generally spiral into orbit within the last two minutes of the auction ending, so you do have to be realistic with your highest bid if you really want it!!

  5. glamour girly says:

    oH, wow, thanks!

  6. Thomas says:

    I’ve not lost an auction in months by following a very simple formula – waiting until 30 seconds, then leisurely entering my highest bid plus $0.01.

    It probably helps that I bid from work.


  7. WendyB says:

    Thomas, that’s a good technique though it requires that you be available at that 30-second mark. I find it easier to snipe because I don’t have to worry about being at my computer when the bidding is ending.

  8. August says:

    Wendy, wendy. I agree with you that sniping is the way to win bids, as I have done it myself, but I HAAAttee it! It’s nervewracking, anxiety producing, and makes you bust a blood vessel when you lose anyway. Not to mention the fact that there are certain times when you know you won’t be in front of the computer for the end of the auction. Wouldn’t it be nice if everybody was just lackadaisical about their bids. Oh who the F am I kidding? I love it when I win in the last 3 seconds. What an adrenaline rush.

  9. WendyB says:

    But August, you don’t have to be at your computer for the end of the auction when you snipe! It’s all automated…you can be off doing anything. I find it much less anxiety-producing — if you honestly consider what your maximum bid is, you know that if you lose it’s because the item is out of your budget.

  10. pistols at dawn says:

    I always hire an ex-military man who used to be the best in the business until they went after the woman he loved.

    He shoots all the other bidders, and then I’ve got my awesome Captain Planet lunchbox for like $20 less.

  11. Miss Janey says:

    Oh, boy. Miss J doesn’t know whetehr to laugh or cry… All she needs is to get better at Ebay…

    Mr. J will be the one sniping then.

  12. jennine says:

    so that’s how it’s done!

  13. Luxe. says:

    God if only I’d nkow about this!! I get so stressed about eBay, I knew these people had an advantage over me!!!!

  14. Grant Miller says:

    Wait. This isn’t about Wesley Snipes?

  15. Suze's Sass says:

    Oh no, I was going to type what Grant said. Someone send help!

  16. Suze's Sass says:

    Oh no, I was going to type what Grant said. Someone send help!

  17. GeorgeB says:

    i havent bought anything on eBay for awhile but i’ve always used jbidwatcher. It runs on your PC or Mac. you can get it free at http://www.jbidwatcher.com.

  18. Princess Poochie says:

    rouge –

    It’s you’ve I’ve been bidding against at the last minute. I’m far to competitive to be trusted in those last 30 seconds.



  19. G.G. says:

    Yeah I use auctionsniper.com — the other reason I like it is that I flake out and will remember an auction an hour late, so this guarantees that even if I flake out, the machine won’t 🙂 Yes, all in the sniping 😀

  20. jennifer says:

    thank you! the other day at the office i saw one of my co-workers placing a bid on an auction that still had days left to go… and i was like “oh. you’re one of those people who like to drive up the price. hmmm.” i will never understand.

  21. Susie Bubble says:

    I did use to think that sniping was very against the spirit of eBay…. but nowadays as it gets very hot and heated…eff it… I’m going for sniping too…

  22. evie says:

    if i thought ebay was previously a scary place, now that you’ve talked about this sniping business, it’s somehow become even more terrifying!

    nvm that i’m terrible at navigating my way around ebay (i’m terrible at searches), there’s a whole technique to winning bids as well?!! this noob here will probably stay away from ebay for a little while longer…

  23. aziza says:

    Ahh. I like this post. 🙂 Could we trade links?

  24. thefashionhead says:

    hey wendy! thanks for letting me in on this ebay secret (i’m pretty new to ebay, i don’t really bid a lot so i had no idea) i tried sniping last night for this ADORABLE vintage high waisted tuxedo like dress but i was beaten by 50 cents from some other jerk sniper, i guess. while i am sad i still wanted to thank you for this post cause i’m going to keep my head up and keep on sniping. thanks again!

  25. WendyB says:

    Fashionhead, Fifty cents! That blows!

  26. Dana (pron. like Donna) says:

    I had no idea this sniping thing existed!

  27. floridagirlinsydney says:

    I’ve been buying and selling on ebay for years, but have never tried the sniping stuff–
    You have shown me the light.
    Next time I need something, and want to make sure I don’t lose it at the last minute, I’m so going there!

  28. Hot Bot says:

    I like to think I’m a relatively savvy eBay-er, but thanks for the tip!

  29. Shibuya Baby Jewels says:

    I can’t believe I didn’t know this! I am so good at winning, and I have just been manually sniping. will have to give this a try if thats what others are using. thanks, great blog.

  30. Francie. says:

    haha. i cant believe i didnt know that. thanks you!

  31. Candice says:

    I’m not an Ebay regulaar, but have been lucky with the times I got a bid in and won the item in the last 30 seconds. I guess there was nothing I’d cry about if I lost.
    That said, suppose I used a sniping service, and other bidders also used one and a bunch of sniper bids all came in at the last second? Which sniper bid wins?

  32. WendyB says:

    Candice, the highest one wins. If for some reason, all the sniped bids were all the same…well, that would be a surprising situation. I’ve never looked up the rules on that.

  33. […] this way.  Bidding early just ends up raising the price most of the time.  Wendy B. swears by “sniping” services, and while I haven’t tried it yet, it sounds like it would be very […]

  34. firefly says:

    Thank you, Wendy B for this. 🙂

  35. […] I see other bloggers finding amazing stuff for crazy cheap and Wendy B is always reminding you to snipe to make sure you don’t get outbid at the last […]