The thrill of the hunt is in the chase
For those of you new to the eBay community you may not be familiar with the term "Snipe"; however for old pro’s, both sellers and buyers alike this has proven to be a rather contentious issue.
Put quite simply to "Snipe" is the practice of placing a bid on an item at the very last possible second prior to the auctions end.
By doing this (in theory) you increase your chances of winning the item by preventing another bidder from countering your bid.
Also (again in theory) you can potentially reduce the end price of the auction by outbidding your competitors with a "preemptive" strike thus preventing any continued bidding.
So what's the contention?
Generally most sellers accept this practice as part and parcel of the eBay experience, although this method of bidding can have a downside especially if the item of interest is something you really want.
If the seller decides that the item is not generating enough interest due to there being an absence of activity, then the seller may very well withdraw the listing, and then say goodbye to your special something.
Some sellers do frown upon this tactic, because after all the name of the game is bidding and counter bidding one bid after the other, this assures that the seller receives a fair price for the listed item.
Buyers too have been known to shall we say "become animated" after missing out on a listing due to another bidder swooping in and Sniping the item out from under the competition, the scorned eBayer then contacted the sniper via email delivering a few choice words (**##%%!! you).
Step by step guide to sniping
First find an item that takes your fancy, you stand a better chance again if the market place has become saturated by an influx of several identical items all due to end at close to the same time.
Add these items to your eBay Summary watch list so that you can monitor the progress of prior bids on these items, this way you can choose an item with fewer placed bids and keep it squarely in your crosshairs.
Once you have zeroed in on your target wait until an hour before the listing is due to end, (make sure you have an hour to spare without interruption), and navigate your way to the item listing page.
While at the listings page take note of the "eBay Counter" this will give you some indication as to the interest this item has generated, refresh the page at regular intervals and continue to monitor the counter.
As you continue to monitor the item by refreshing your browser you will most likely see the bids steadily increasing, it is important for you to set yourself a maximum bid limit (unless you have more money than Bill Gates, what you don’t think he shops on eBay?).
Should the item exceed your maximum limit let it go you are bound to find another item similar or even better in another auction, all too often buyers get caught up in a bidding frenzy, after winning the item they realize they have spent to much and this is when buyers remorse sets in.
With all being well and the item well within your spending budget, 5min before auctions end sign out of eBay and then sign back in, the reason for doing this is so that eBay recognizes that your signed in, if you are to bid in the final seconds of the auction ending the last thing you want to happen is eBay asking you to sign in before you can continue bidding.
Ok now its crunch time continue to refresh your browser every few seconds keeping an eye on that bid price, don’t loose your nerve and jump the gun placing a bid too early, remember 30sec is a very long time in the land of microprocessors, if you bid too early someone might very well out snipe you.
This is it, with 15sec left on the clock click that "Place Bid" button, when the "Place a Bid" page opens type faster than Superman and enter your maximum bid and hit "Continue", once the "Review and Confirm Bid" page opens don’t hesitate hit the "Confirm Bid" button as fast as you can.
The moment of truth
With any luck on the next page to open you will be greeted with "You are the current high bidder", and if this is the case the chances of your being outbid are remote as you have left perhaps 2sec for someone to realize they’ve been outbid and no time to counter.
Each time I have preformed this maneuver I feel the adrenalin coursing through my body (I guess that’s what you call a cheap thrill), I click the "My eBay" link at the top of the page and close my eyes until the page opens then scroll down to see if I’ve won.
On the number of occasions I have done this my success rate has been a good 90%, I have to say though I have mixed feelings when having done this, there is a sense of satisfaction from having won, a sense of achievement from knowing I have paid as little as possible, then there is the sense of guilt from snatching away an item from another bidder and for the seller not paying as much as might have been.
Should any of you have read this thank you, I hope it has been of some use to you, just keep in mind the ethical implications whatever you do.