Sniping! The Best kept secret on Ebay

Views 858 Likes Comments Comment
Like if this guide is helpful

Sniping! - A buyers Best Friend (and not too bad for sellers either)

The Auction has 20 seconds to go... You are the high bidder... Yes! it's yours! 10 seconds to go, Yes, it's still yours!

 3 seconds to go and you were outbid! What Happened?


We have all had it happen to us. We hate them right?

I can remember when I first started on Ebay back in 1998. I was soooo excited because I collect, among other things, Maxfield Parrish Prints. They were extremely hard to come by in my area and if you did find them, they cost way more than I could afford. Then comes ebay. All of a sudden I was on Parrish overload. There were hundreds of them on ebay! (Authenticity issues will have to be the subject of a whole other guide) I don't want to wander off on another subject..

Anyways, I found the one I have always wanted right away. I bid my highest bid and to my delight, I was the winner... I was hooked...

I then began my over-spending years on ebay..

I would find the item I wanted and place my bid. I would get in to bidding wars in the last minutes and seconds of the auction. I would end up with my item at much much more than I had intended to pay. Why? Well, because I wasn't going to be outbid, that's why... I would get caught up in the bidding frenzy, often spending way more than I intended.

I would get up in the middle of the night because my auction was ending. I would get enraged if I was outbid. My heart would race with excitement. If I did get outbid, I was devastated. I would literally scream out loud because they only beat me by a dollar! What was up with that? My poor husband thought I was a crazy person. Sometimes I even cried because I got so frustrated. I hated ebay. I loved ebay.

I knew who my opponents were. Every last one of them. I was often in bidding wars with the same group of people. I started taking things personally. I was determined that I was not going to be outbid.

I own the worlds most expensive set of Fire King Jadite Restaurant Ware... Move over Martha! Mine probably cost as much as yours, but I own only a fraction of the amount you do.

How about this beauty? Only $40

Or this? What is it anyway and worse yet, why did I think I needed it.


Ebay advises that you should place your bid for the highest amount you are willing to pay, and then let the proxy bidding system work for you. Sound advice really, but come on, we are human and most of us have some of the same characteristics. We want a deal and we want to win... I was no different, so I would place my bid well below what the item was worth, and fight my way to a win, at great expense. (Luckily I had a pretty good job in those days)

Something began to change

For better or for worse, I really couldn't tell which one it was. Probably for the better, if you asked my husband or my bank account. Gradually, I began to see that I wasn't in as many bidding wars. I was being outbid at the last second. It was happening more and more. I was the high bidder all day on the last day... I was the high bidder up until the last minute and when I would click the refresh button so I could see my name as the high bidder and revel in all my winning glory. Then came the shock!. Someone had literally outbid me in the last 5 seconds!!!! One person in particular did it all the time on the Parrish prints... HOW???? How was this person able to place their bid and win within seconds of the auction ending... Were they glued to their computer 24 hours per day or what??... It didn't matter what time it was and there he was bidding on my item in the last second and winning it for a pittance.

This was the beginning of my Heart failure months

Luckily this stage didn't last too long... I wouldn't have survived it... You thought I got upset before. You should have seen me when I got sniped! I was a raving maniac. I couldn't believe it. How could someone bid in the last second and always win for a dollar or two more than I bid? I didn't get it, but I was determined to find out..


This is what the ebay community calls people who swoop in and bid on your item in the last second. In order to snipe properly, you need to understand bidding practices and even your opponent.

Even though Ebay advises people to place their highest bid, they don't... Most don't anyways. Snipers are banking on the fact that the bid showing on the screen is close to your maximum. No they don't come in an bid hundreds of dollars over what you bid to insure that they are the winner. They bank on the fact that your bid on the screen is close to your highest bid. In most cases they are right. One way they can find this out, is by looking at your bidding history. They can see by the bidding history of previous auctions that you bid a low amount, then get outbid and then you bid another low amount... you might chip away at the bid until you are the high bidder. Or they can tell if you bid high from the beginning and let the ebay proxy bidding system work for you.

A lot of Snipers still snipe manually. They love the thrill of the last second snipe. I personally can't take it any more... I found a better solution. One that has saved my sanity as well as my pocketbook.

If you can't beat them, join them!

A lot of snipers will hate me for sharing this info. More competition. There may even be sellers who hate me for it. I am a seller as well as a buyer. As a buyer I love what I am sharing. As a seller, I have come to embrace it for what it is.

The benefits of Sniping

  • You place one bid and one bid only. The price you want to pay.
  • The Sniping software bids for you  in the last seconds. No more staying up til all hours
  • You don't get caught up in a bidding war where the object is to win.
  • You don't end up spending twice as much for an item just because you got in a bidding war.
  • Your interest in the item is kept secret.

Sniping - The New Generation of Ebayers

Believe it or not, there are companies out there who offer sniping services. I use one of them. Ebay does not allow outside links, so I am unable to give you a link to the service I use. There are several of them out there and all you need to do is the research. Do a google search for "Snipe" or "ebay snipe" or "sniping" and you will find them. The one I use, has been around for quite some time. At first it was free, but now they charge... it doesn't cost much however and you pay with paypal

The Sniper I use charges "bid points". You only pay if you win.

How it works:

The Sniper that I use, allows you to put a "snipe" button on your tool bar. I cruise ebay as I normally would. If I see something I am interested in owning, I click "snipe it" from my tool bar and another window opens where I sign on to the sniping website. It already has my user id and password and the item number I want to bid on, so all I have to do is put in the amount I want to bid and it saves it for me.

At the auction end, the software bids for me on ebay... I either win, or I lose, simple as that. It works almost 99% of the time. I am charged 1 bid point for every dollar I spent for my winning bid. Bid points are cheap. Something like 10,000 of them for $10.00. I have saved every bit of that by not getting caught up in a bidding frenzy.


All of my bids are stored on the sniping service's website. I can go back years and see what I paid for items. One of the side benefits is that you can create bid groups. This means you can bid on  multiple identical items and as soon as you win one of them, it will cancel bids on the remaining items.

I now enter a reasonable amount I want to spend. No more chipping away until I am the high bidder. I place one bid. If I win, I got it at a price I was willing to pay. If I don't win, then the price was too high. It has made my ebay experience much more relaxed and enjoyable.

Sniping has saved me money. Sniping has won more auctions for me. Sniping is reversable if you change your mind. Sniping is not going anywhere, so you might as well use it to your advantage.

The sniper I use:

w w w dot esnipe dot com

I decided to put that in because of the number of requests I have had asking me for info.

A note to sellers:

Don't worry too much if you don't see too much bidding activity on your item. If you see that you have "watchers", more than likely one of them is going to snipe your auction and you will have a buyer. I have not noticed that this decreases the sales amounts at all. It just delays the process until the last seconds of the auction. All in all I have been very happy I decided not to fight the snipers, but to join them.

Thank you for viewing my guide. If you found it useful, please take the time to vote for it.

If you want to give sniping a try, I don't mind if you practice on my auctions!

*shelley's auctions

copyright by shelleygeo 2006

Have something to share, create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides