Can someone give me the details of how AS and Ebay's automatic bidding system compete? For example, if I have a 7 second lead time, will EBay's auto-bid help someone else call my bid within that 7 seconds? Would I be better off using EBay auto-bidding myself instead of AS?

Any tricks I can use that will help to prevent being outbid by someone using EBay's auto-bid?

Original Post
A snipe is a last minute bid, generally placed in the last minute or closing seconds of an auction. This can be done manually, with you sitting in front of your computer, bidding at the last second, or it can be done via software, such as Auction Sniper. The point is to get a high bid in, giving others little time to respond with a counterbid.

If someone bids higher earlier in the auction, that person will win, because he bid the highest. That is how auctions work. An important point to be noted here is that you have no way of knowing what his high bid (proxy bid) really is; you only know that he bid at least enough to be on top. For example, if bidder A bids $42 and bidder B bids $75, while the auction is still going on, you will see bidder B listed as the high bidder at $43, because $43 is one bid increment over the next-highest bid of $42. You know that B bid more than A, but you do not know by how much. If the auction ends without further bidding, B will win for the same $43 price and you will never know what his max really was.

Let us say that bidder C comes along and bids $61. Bidder B will still win, but he will be listed as winning for $62, since much more of his proxy bid was used up to keep him as top bidder, by placing him one increment (in this case, a dollar) above the second-highest bidder, C.

Why snipe? Because many people do not bid their max. This is particularly true of bidders new to eBay, though you would be surprised at the old-timers who do the same thing. Trying to get a good price, they tend to bid just enough to stay the high bidder. They do not bid what they are REALLY willing to pay until someone else comes along and outbids them. Only then do they bid higher. Sometimes this cycle goes back and forth, with two or more bidders (called "nibblers") continually outbidding each other, in an expensive game of one up-manship. But these same nibblers tend to leave their bids alone if no one else outbids them.

That is where snipers come in. Bidder X may have bid $25 on an item, but will go higher if someone outbids him. He may go up to $100 if he feels he has to, in order to win, but leaves his bid at $25, thinking he is somehow getting a better deal. He overlooks the fact that if he bids the $100, he will not pay that amount, unless other bidders push the auction price up that high. So along comes bidder Y, a sniper, who bids $50 in the last seconds and wins for $26! There is no time for bidder X to come back and raise his bid. He is upset, because he knows that he would have been willing to go higher. Additionally, he does not know that bidder Y's max was $50--all he sees is that he lost the auction for one dollar.

Does sniping work every time? No. There is no magical way to guarantee a win. But eBay is replete with bidders who nibble and do not observe or analyze their own bidding behaviors, and that is why we snipers tend to win. Consequently, we have a very high success rate--mine approaches 97%, with all of my losses going to higher bidders who were willing to pay more than I was.

The key is to decide the ABSOLUTE max you will pay, set your snipe through AS, and leave it at that. They will take care of the rest. Do not obsess about getting the very last bid in--at three seconds, instead of eight--just decide what the "I will pay this and not a penny more" amount is and stay with it. It is more important that your bid get in near the end, than it is to risk your bid not reaching eBay in time. (If someone else bids that late in the auction--less than fifteen seconds remaining--he is another sniper and was probably going to bid at that point, regardless of whether or not you had bid, so do not get unnerved by that.) This is why it is important to bid your absolute maximum. Most of the time you will find that your max does not get reached and you will get your win at a good price. When you do lose, it will not be because you did not bid your max; you will simply have been outbid—whether by another sniper or by someone who bid much earlier in the auction—but you will know that someone else was willing to pay more.

Most of us tend to use a 5-10 lead time; some members add a few seconds on Sunday evenings (eBay's busiest time) and on any day when an auction ends exactly on a quarter hour (X:00, X:15, X:30, X:45), as these are also busy, due to sellers' incentive listings. We also bid unusual amounts and occasionally we end up winning auctions where others bid even dollar amounts or just one cent over the dollar. In other words, bid $23.83 and not simply $23.01.

Good luck to all!
Hey Chatter and Mickey! Just thought you should know I was a sniper virgin until 5 minutes ago. Won my first auction this way on an item I really wanted (and saved 60% off retail too!). I read your explanation with about 30 minutes left in the auction, adjusted my max bid to a unique increment, upped my lead from 6 to 12 seconds (Sunday 9:30pm auction close), and badda bing! I almost feel bad for the other contenders who were swapping the lead with manual bids. Don't I know the feeling to be in the thick of it and have it yanked away. But I think I'll only use sniping when I really gotta have something that I know I can get a fantastic deal on. The old way is still pretty fun too. Thank you sensei!
I am a new member, haven't done my first snipe yet. Referred by a friend who swears by it.

My question is about how it works when the current high bidder has put in a higher maximum proxy bid than what the current price is. If there is only 8 seconds lead time, is this enough to have ASniper make successive bids and re-bids to get to above their maximum?

Let me give an example: the item I want is currently priced at $100. There have been 9 bids, which were all done quick, so someone bid up, and current bidder's proxy bid seems to have lifted them above successively by $1 each time. So I'm pretty sure they have not yet reached their maximum proxy bid.

I have set ASniper to a max bid of $200. But if it submits a bid with 7 seconds left at $101, the current bidder's proxy will then go to $102.

Does ASniper take this into account, e.g., with quick bids back and forth, and you winning as long as your max ASniper bid is above their Ebay proxy maximum?

Or in this case is there some other better way to proceed?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

John, you've misunderstood how AS works. It places one bid towards the end of the auction for your maximum amount using your ID and password. To ebay and anyone else it looks like you've bid. Once that bid/snipe is placed then ebay handles it in the normal way.

Now, if the current winner has bid 200 and your snipe arrives then you'll lose under ebay's proxy bidding rules.
So, always add a few pence/cents so that you'll win in a tie (it's great to win by just one penny so try 200.01!) and set your lead time to 8 seconds. (Use modify button on My Snipes page for this!).

Never use AS for must-haves - it is just a machine and occasionally fails - that said, I have probably only had one or two failures in 5 or 6 years.

Oh and ignore Rick - he's not the full shilling!

I do disagree with region2 on one point. On “must-have” items, it’s just as important to use AS as it is with other auctions. Obviously something “may” go wrong, but AS’ success rate is 9,999 out of 10,000 so it’s fairly unlikely there will be a problem. And if one doesn’t use AS, then what? Place a manual snipe? That’s REALLY taking a chance. Or, place an early proxy bid? That’s asking for someone to start bidding against you, and on “must-have” items, seeing that there’s a greater chance they are rare, there’s an increased possibility of a bidding war. Now, if you have unlimited money, then place a large early-proxy bid and hope that no one else does likewise. If you don’t own an oil field, then use AS to snipe the auction.

John, if you haven't already seen this, you might find it helpful:
Thanks Rick and Region2, that is helpful. That tip sheet answered my question: "eBay will accept just the next increment over the previous bidder's max. This is why it is safe for you to put in the absolute maximum you're willing to bid. Remember that eBay doesn't show a bidder's max, just the next increment needed over the previous bidder. - Your snipe bid will jump to a seller's reserve. This would happen if you bid directly on eBay too."

I didn't understand how Sniper could incrementally bid up beyond your opponent's maximum proxy in the short time available. But that makes sense...Sniper puts in your max bid, and Ebay automatically jumps to one increment above your opponent.

Game on! I'll post how it went tomorrow.
Chatter, I reread your post and it is an EXCELLENT explanation of sniping! It should be incorporated in the FAQ under "Sniping explained" (or maybe "Sniping Exposed!" - sounds more risque and may get more readers! Wink ). Alternatively, it would be a nice article to be incorporated in the FAQ as an EXAMPLE of the quality of info that can be found in the AS forum. Kudos!
Thank you. Chatter's Bidding Primer is an old file, one that I made several years ago and revise periodically, as circumstances suggest. Occasionally I quote just certain parts of it, while at other times I post the entire primer.

In fact, when I reread this thread yesterday, I made several changes to my permanent version, so look for a few new and edited lines the next time this old and and faithful primer appears! Wink

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