Note: Notice the date this article was written and published above... January 10, 2007. eBay has changed the game in recent years in terms of a countdown on the site, which eliminates the need for some of the techniques I wrote about below. However, back in the day this was how eBay king snipers did it! Hope you enjoy this historical look at how to snipe effectively!
Having been a part of eBay since the summer of 1999 it didn't take me long to realize that the best way to win an auction was by sniping
My first couple years on eBay I'd place a bid in the last day, only to get outbidded. Not before long, I upgraded to bidding within the last hour. Still got outbidded more times than I dare recall. Then I moved to bidding within the final minute. And STILL! I lost far more than I won
TIME TO PLAY FIRE WITH FIRE
In 2002, I developed a sniping technique that did 2 things:
Kept eBay stress free
Helped me win countless auctions for far below auction value
I've been using my sniping technique since 2002. Now, I'm sharing my methods with all
WHY BID WITH X-DAYS TO GO?
Two things happen if you bid with multiple days to go
You've shown your hand
Auction price will likely jump, ending the possibility of a bargain
Why is showing your hand early a bad thing? Because before the auction ends, someone will likely outbid you, or at least increase the price of the auction
Hence ending the possibility of a bargain
The best way to win an auction AS CHEAP as possible is by NOT showing your hand until the very last second possible
WHAT IS "TRUE" SNIPING?
30 seconds left in the auction? No way
10? Keep going
5? Getting warmer
3 seconds and under is the best snipe
Most of my wins are 3 second snipes (sometimes 2, 1 and a few times even 0)
Bidding in the final 3 seconds is a TRUE ruthless snipe
DON'T JUST SNIPE -- SMART SNIPE
SMART sniping consists of 3 basic fundamentals
Bidding with 3 seconds (or less)
It's your FIRSTand ONLY bid of the auction
That bid is the MAXIMUM you're willing to pay
If you apply this, you'll be scoring bargains a-plenty. People like to bid once and then maybe snipe. Why bother bidding once at all? Put it on the watch list, know your max, and go
SMART snipe > snipe
CONCEPT OF THE (UTMOST) MAXIMUM BID
Say the item is at $25.00
Let's say you're willing to pay up to $50. Now think to yourself, "Could I afford to pay $3 more?" If so, obviously $53 > $50
IT MAKES CENTS
Always go with unround numbers. $53 is nice but GO ONE STEP BETTER
Always make the cents column bigger than 25 cents, 50, or 75. Many people use $50.25, $50.50 or $50.75. Don't bother entering $50.45 -- $50.55 is only a dime more and has a better chance of winning. I've had cases where I decided to add 30 cents and ended up winning by a nickel! Never underestimate the power of an extra 30 cents or so, much less a few bucks
So these two factors come into play
Figure out your dollar max, then how much more you're willing to go
Figure out your cent max (obviously keeping S&H in mind)
Ending this example, you should enter $53.57 (or the like) with 3 seconds to go. Make it your first and only bid. By doing this, you increase your chance not only to win the item, but win it at the lowest price possible
SETTING THE AUCTION UP
Now comes the final part. People talk about REFRESHING a page -- there's NO need!
Sit at the computer when the auction has 10, 8 minutes to go. Scan over the current bid (say $17.50), know the shipping costs beforehand and compute your max
Let's say the auction's ending at 5:05 PM
When your COMPUTER CLOCK shows 5:01 PM, you know there are approximately four minutes remaining in the auction
Now keep your
eyes glued to the computer clock, waiting for it to strike 5:02
finger on the mouse, dragged over the bid history, ready to click
AS SOON AS your computer clock changes from 5:01 to 5:02 IMMEDIATELY click on BID HISTORY
The screen will say (for example) "2 minutes 46 seconds remaining"
Now with a pen and paper, write down the time it will end. Add the 2 minutes to 5:02
Therefore NOW you know that the auction will end at 5:04 and 46 seconds
Then, when the clock on your computer strikes 5:03, you know the auction ends in ONE minute and 46 seconds. Enter your UTMOST MAXIMUM bid, but DO NOT YET SUBMIT THE BID! You want to be JUST ONE CLICK AWAY from finalizing the bid at this stage
Now WAIT until the computer clock strikes 5:04
Once 5:04 strikes, you know the auction has only 46 seconds to go! Count down on your digital alarm clock and hit CONFIRM BID when you've counted 43 or 44 seconds!
Congratulations -- you just performed a 2-second snipe. It's THAT simple!
You must have an alarm digital clock. I use a Westclox. The ":" on the alarm clock appears and disappears, indicating 1 second each time... just count them as necessary, then click SUBMIT BID. You'll likely win auctions left and right, overtaking the competition with two seconds to go!
IT SOUNDS A BIT COMPLEX...
It's really not. It's incredibly easy and not much more time-consuming than making a bid and walking away with no strategy whatsoever. Plus, it gives you the best chance to score bargains
COULD YOU SUMMARIZE?
Know your MAX first and foremost (unround numbers, if it's an item that's rare and you really want, always go a dollar or two over your max i.e. $120.77 vs. $122.77)
Have a digital alarm clock with flashing ":" mark to indicate seconds
Check bid history with 3 or 2 minutes remaining in the auction IMMEDIATELY as your COMPUTER CLOCK changes the minute mark (i.e. 5:05 ending, when your computer clock strikes 5:01 or 5:02 immediately click on "Bid History")
Record the remaining time, go back, enter your max but do not CONFIRM yet
Count down to 3 or 2 seconds, then enter "Confirm Bid"
There's absolutely no need to refresh the page, or even have 2 pages open which I've read about over the years. You need none of that. You just need what I've shared here
WAIT! WHAT IF I'M UNAVAILABLE WHEN THE AUCTION ENDS?
I know. We can't sit there all the time and employ this sniping technique. In such cases, call upon the almighty
Allows 3 snipes each week
Just punch in the item number, enter your max and it'll do the rest, whether you're logged into eBay at the time of the auction ending or not
The only downside is -- it places the bid with 11seconds to go. If you're unlucky enough to encounter one of them 5 second snipers, it comes down to who's willing to pay more
I've won many auction I probably otherwise would have lost, if it weren't for Auctionstealer. You don't know how many games it won for me while I was at class!
11 seconds still >>>>> 6 hours to go!
The best way to win auctions (and for cheap) is entering 1 bid, it being your absolute max, with under 3 seconds remaining
In the land of eBay, that technique is King of the Jungle
And, should you still get outbidded... why is it stress-free?
Because it's your UTMOST maximum bid. If someone spent more, you can sleep easy knowing you refused to pay more than what you're willing
And that, my friends, is the art of TRUE eBay sniping