What is sniping?

Sniping is a sophisticated bidding strategy of placing a bid in the last few seconds of an auction so that your fellow competing bidders have no time to react.
It is the intelligent way to bid on eBay and we recommend it to everyone, regardless of what you buy.
At a traditional live auction where you attend in person and place your bids by getting the auctioneer's attention, the item is declared sold when the bidding stops. There can be no sniping. If you wait to bid until the last second, there is a risk that the auctioneer will not see your bid, and you will be left out. Seldom will an auctioneer re-open floor bidding once the hammer has fallen, although he can do so at his discretion if he thinks an error has occurred. Therefore, if you want to bid, you must speak up or lose out.
A traditional auction is therefore bid-limited.
eBay auctions however, are time-limited. The auction ends the exact second when the listing ends. Whoever has the highest bid when the auction closes is the winner. As in the traditional auction, it is always the highest bid that wins, not merely the last bid.
Why is it "intelligent" to bid as a sniper?

If you were playing a game of poker, would you allow your competing players to see your hand and anticipate your every move?
If your answer is "Yes," you are the person who immediately jumps into the bidding fray and bids on an item of interest to you. By doing so, you show your hand for all to see. Not very bright.
Do not show your hand.

Bids beget bids. When others see bidding activity on an item, their curiosity leads them to want to see what all the excitement is about. People want what others want. A large number of bids on an item draws attention to the item, and results in more and more bids and higher and higher prices.
That is why, since time immemorial, auctioneers have used fake bidders known as "shills" to bid on items to generate interest in an item, to cause a stir in the crowd, to attract more bidders who might not otherwise have paid any attention to an item, to cause a frenzy among legitimate bidders, and to drive the bids higher and higher with the goal being to make more money for the auctioneer.
Bids beget bids!

Bids beget bids. When you bid on an item, you draw attention to the item.
Keep in mind that some bidders may bid against you because they legitimately want the same item as you, while there are also bidders who will bid against you simply to "run up the price" to make you pay more, perhaps to teach you a lesson.
There are bidders and sellers who will use multiple user ID's to take advantage of your lack of sophistication or to squeeze more money from you. For example, a seller might use a fake user ID or have a friend or associate, sometimes in a distant location, bid against you to determine the amount of your proxy bid.
Let us say that you bid $1,000 on a nice watch with an opening bid of $1.00 and no reserve. Let us also say that the seller, who is dishonest, wants to determine how much you are willing to pay for his item. By placing bids at small increments until he has outbid you the seller will know your exact bid amount.
The seller will then use a fake user ID or have his accomplice enter a bid just a few dollars under your bid to cement the sale. The seller will then retract his bid and leave you as the high bidder at, say $975. Not only has the seller guaranteed himself a sale at $975, but the bidding activity has drawn attention from other bidders, and item ultimately sells for $1200.
Make no mistake, this activity is expressly prohibited by eBay and they have the technology and means to detect such shill bidding and abuses, but nevertheless it goes on every day. If you use a computer with one IP address to sign on to multiple accounts and shill bid on your own items, eBay will catch and ban you immediately. The fact that your visiting great aunt simply signed on to your computer with her user ID to legitimately bid on an item of yours will not prevent you from being banned for shill bidding.
When eBay finds shill bidding, they ban the guilty party from trading on eBay. Shill bidding is FRAUD. It is absolutely illegal. Do not try it. You can be sued for civil damages, and at the same time, depending upon the dollar amount of damages claimed by the plaintiff, you can be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony. In many jurisdictions, claimed damages of only $500 are sufficient to qualify for felony charges.
There is only one circumstance under which you should place an opening bid:

If you find a valuable item that an ignorant seller has mis-categorized or mis-described, you should place a bid so that the seller cannot revise the item to correct his mistakes. Once a bid has been placed on an item the seller can only add to the item description, and cannot revise or re-classify the item. Further, during the last 12 hours of the bidding, a seller cannot close an auction except to sell to the highest existing bidder. A seller who listed a $500 item, for example, for $9.99 cannot close his listing in the last 12 hours to avoid the possibility that his item will sell for next to nothing.
For example, you collect 17th century Japanese porcelain and you find a superb plate circa 1655 worth $700 that is described as "Oriental Bowl" and listed in the dinnerware classification with an opening bid of $4.99, you should immediately bid the minimum amount and add the item to your sniping software program with a bid of, say $300 or whatever you are ultimately willing to pay.
Your chances of getting the item for a bargain price are greatly enhanced because the seller made his item almost invisible by placing it in the wrong classification with the wrong description.
Do not fight human nature. Harness it.

The psychology of auction bidding arises from basic human nature. Do not fight human nature. Instead, put your knowledge of human nature to work for you and you will win more auctions at far lower prices than with eBay's proxy bidding.
eBay makes its revenues from fees charged to sellers based selling prices. eBay has a vested interest in your paying too much!
People are highly predictable. If a seller lists a $1,000 item for an opening bid of $1 and no reserve, there are invariably a few idiots or wishful thinkers who think that if they jump in and start bidding, they will get the item for next to nothing. This can happen, but seldom does.
Further, it is most uncommon for the first bidder to win an auction, especially if the item is a sought after, high value item with a low starting bid. Would you feel a bit foolish if you bid $10 on a set of Georg Jensen sterling silver flatware that ultimately sold for $12,000?
Bidders who immediately enter a flurry of bids on an item are a seller's dream come true. That is why sellers love to see a multitude of bids on their items, and the earlier the better. Bids beget bids. The seller's mantra: Bid early and bid often. Do not buy into that trap.
Sellers will also sometimes state in their listings that they reserve the right to end an auction early and that bidders should not wait until the last minute to bid. Baloney. That is a blatant attempt to stampede bidders into placing bids so that buyers do not take the chance of losing out on the item.
Do not fall for that ploy, it is simply a gimmick, and not even a very smart one, since all smart sellers know that much of the bidding activity takes place the last five seconds of the auction! The most stupid thing a seller can do is end an auction early: by doing so he misses out on the serious bidding.
Further, an auction CANNOT be ended in the last 12 hours for any reason whatsoever except to sell to the current high bidder.
How many times have you entered a bid that you considered to be your top dollar, only to see someone bid and re-bid only to outbid you? People can be astoundingly stupid. Some think that if they consistently have the high bid, they will win the auction. Not so. It is only the highest bid at the close of the auction that wins.
New eBay feedback rules favor buyers who snipe. Sellers cannot block snipers!

By placing a bid, you make your feedback and bidding history visible to your seller. That may be unwise.

Many eBay sellers, especially the bad ones, are terrified of the new feedback rules effective May 19, 2008, under which a seller can no longer leave any negative feedback for buyers. Many sellers believe Zero feedback buyers or low feedback buyers to be too much of a risk to sell to, and therefore many sellers are canceling bids from bidders with Zero feedback. Sellers are also canceling bids from bidders they consider to be risky for any other reason.
When you place a bid, the seller can view your feedback history and determine if he wishes to do business with you. If the seller sees that you have Zero feedback, or that you have left negative feedback for another seller, or that you appear to be a problem bidder for any other reason, he may be reluctant to deal with you. The seller can then block your user ID and cancel your bid and you will no longer be able to bid on that seller's items under your blocked user ID.
Obviously, if you have questionable feedback, you should not ask the seller a question as he may block you as soon as he sees your feedback or if he thinks that your question leads him to belive that you are a potential problem bidder, also known on eBay as a "PITA" (Pain In The ***).
There is currently no way a seller can block a Zero feedback bidder who snipes.

Under current eBay rules, a seller can pre-set blocks on any bidder who has a feedback score of -1 or less or who has a certain number of unpaid item strikes, etc. Aside from very specific rules and parameters, a seller cannot pre-block other bidders, therefore all bidders who are not pre-blocked by parameters set by the seller can bid.
If you jump in and bid early the seller will have plenty of time to scrutinize you and block your bids if he feels threatened by you. If you bid only as a sniper, no seller can block you merely because he thinks he might not like to deal with you.

In evaluating you as a bidder, a seller will pay more attention to the feedback you have GIVEN than the feedback you have RECEIVED. If you routinely hand out negatives a seller may not want to deal with you and block you from bidding.
You can easily get around that by refraining from giving negatives and by instead giving very low Detailed Seller Ratings (DSR's) which is just as damaging to bad sellers, but which cannot be determined by other sellers. For example, your item takes 3 weeks to arrive, your seller did not communicate with you in any way, the actual shipping cost was 1/3 of what you paid and the item had some minor condition problems not disclosed in the listing.
Do you give a negative? Perhaps not; you might simply choose to leave positive feedback of "Item received" but give the seller only one star in each of the four DSR ratings. Low ratings can be as damaging to a bad seller as a negative feedback, but no one sees the DSR ratings you left.
Your seller cannot give you a negative or neutral in retaliation, and if he attempts to give you a "negative positive" such as "Problem bidder; dinged my stars, don't deal with," you merely contact eBay and they will delete the seller's feedback from your profile.
How do I snipe an item?

There are two ways: the easy way and the inconvenient way.
The easy way is to subscribe to one of the online auction sniping services such as bidnapper.com. You predetermine how much you wish to bid and set the software to snipe. A few seconds--typically 5 seconds--before the auction ends, your bid will be entered. If you have the highest bid, you will win. If not, you will not. The highest bid always wins, not the last bid.
The inconvenient way to snipe is by lurking around your computer until a few seconds before your auction closes and then enter your top bid.
Seconds count!

The key operative word is seconds! Your bid must be entered only a few seconds before the auction ends so that other bidders have no time to react and re-bid! Bidding on an item with a minute or so to spare is not sniping! Thirty seconds or more is plenty of time for some bidders to react and to try to outbid you and you lose your advantage. Do not show your hand. Never give a sucker an even break.
If your bid is too low, you save your money to bid another day on a better item. In a few instances your bid might not go through due to a systems error. That is God's way of telling you that you were not meant to have that item, get over it!
Kevin Reviewed by Kevin on . Best Way To Bid Ebay Sniping! http://i.imgur.com/cvQiuBG.png What is sniping? Sniping is a sophisticated bidding strategy of placing a bid in the last few seconds of an auction so that your fellow competing bidders have no time to react. It is the intelligent way to bid on eBay and we recommend it to everyone, regardless of what you buy. At a traditional live auction where you attend in person and place your bids by getting the auctioneer's attention, the item is declared sold when the bidding stops. Rating: 5