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That’s not to say, however, that you should get into the bidding on day one of a seven-day auction. The earlier you bid, the more likely it is that you’ll be outbid. In essence, when you place an early bid on an auction, you’re tipping your hand. Other bidders see your bid and feel they have to respond to stay in the game. This raises the current bid price—and the more bidders, the higher the price. While this is good for the seller, it’s lousy for you if the item gets bid up too high, too fast.

A much better strategy is to not bid on an item right away. Wait until the very end of the auction—even as late as the last ten seconds—and then swoop in unexpectedly. In fact, if you bid late enough in the game, you won’t leave other bidders any time to respond—which leaves your last-second bid the winning bid. This strategy of last-second bidding is called sniping, and its how you can win a lot of eBay auctions without unduly driving up the bidding price early on.

The key to sniping is to make just one bid in an auction and to make it as late as possible in the process. That means making your bid literally in the last seconds of an auction, and making that bid high enough to beat any other bidders’ (unknown to you) maximum bids. The trick to placing a successful snipe is to have your bid lined up and ready to go while you watch the clock. Synchronize your clock with eBay’s official time and have your finger on the Confirm Bid button. Wait until exactly 5 seconds left on the clock, and then click the button. This gives you just enough time for your bid to be sent to and registered with eBay, but doesn’t leave enough time for any other bidders to realize what’s going on and respond in kind. If your bid was high enough, you’ll win!

Hope this helps,
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