Sniping on eBay

How Buyers Benefit Using Auction Snipers

eBay auction sniping
Sniping programs automate the bidding process, and help buyers win auctions. GettyImages

If you have watched or listened to national news lately, no doubt you have heard reports of snipers in the fight against terrorism. And there is the movie about legendary Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, the most deadly sniper in American history. According to Dictionary.com, sniping means:

To shoot at individuals as opportunity offers from a concealed or distant position.

Although snipers and sniping are coming words, what does a sniper have to do with buying or selling on eBay?

With respect to eBay, sniping refers to placing bids in a concealed manner using special software developed to help the buyer "snipe" auctions without the seller know he is bidding.

Why Were eBay Snipers Developed?

Around 2005, when eBay was still mostly auctions, buyers noticed that the more bids an item had on it, the higher it placed in search. This is not a good thing if you are trying to win an auction. If only there was a way to automate the auction bidding process so the seller wouldn't know buyers were interested. Stealth bidding. That is when auction snipers were born. Auction snipers function as software or websites that automate the bidding process and place bids just seconds. Buyers can schedule bids without the bids registering on eBay, the seller knowing a bid will be placed or other sellers seeing the bids.

How do Auction Snipers Work?

There are several auction sniping sites free for eBay sellers:

  • Gixen
  • BidNapper
  • EzSniper
  • JustSnipe

These services work with a token. Visit the site, set up a free account, then connect to your eBay account when prompted to do so. The sniping tool will then be able to bid on your behalf.

To set up a snipe, users enter the eBay item number of the item and their maximum bid.

The sniping tool will begin entering bids within the last minute before the auction ends. Bidding will only go up to the highest amount to win the auction. For example, let's say a buyer is sniping a pair of Bally leather shoes and only wants to pay $25. The auction starts at 99 cents. The buyer could win the item for any price up to $25, even for just 99 cents if there are no other bids. (Which is not unusual on eBay since auction bidding is down.)

Some tools are more advanced than others. For example, on Gixen.com, users can import an entire eBay watch list and set up snipes for multiple items. Bids can be canceled any time before the auction ends. The buyer always has complete control.

Why Use a Sniper?

  1. Early bidding is a trigger for other bidders, even mores on collectible, rare, or one of a kind items. You may tip off other bidders about the true value of an item, especially if you are more educated about the item than competing bidders. You are actually assisting other bidders when you bid early and that can cause the price of the item to rise dramatically.
  2. Buyers get carried away with the bidding process. As the bidding continues, they may be caught up in the excitement and bid more than they originally planned. This can cause the price to rise out of your affordability range, and for you to lose the auction. Silence is golden when it comes to auction bidding.
  1. Bidders often become irrational during auctions with lots of bidding activity. Auctions with no bids are boring, and boring means less attention drawn to the item you are trying to win.
  2. Bids can be deleted at any time on sniping programs. This is often faster and easier than retracting a bid on eBay.
  3. Shill bidding still happens on eBay. A shill bid is a fake bid, placed by a friend contact of the seller to artificially inflate the price of the item. If you use a sniper, your bids aren't placed until the very last seconds, so there is less possibility of a shill bidder being involved in the process.

Snipers only work with auctions. The next time you need to buy an item on eBay, try a free sniping tool. Search eBay for the item you need, find a low price auction with reasonable shipping fees ​and put in a low bid.

You will be shocked at how cheaply you can buy expensive items on eBay with this technique.