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eBay Snipe Review

eBay Auction Sniping Explained

This article was updated in Feb. 2020.

Sniping auctions is when you wait until the last few seconds of an auction to bid. Bidding at the last moment does not allow other bidders to raise their bids. Also, when you snipe you do not let others know you are interested in bidding on the auction.

Being an auction sniper can save you considerable money. I have seen auctions where bidders engage in a bidding war and bid back and forth against each other. I have also seen auctions where someone bids early in the auction, then someone else comes in and bids in ten dollar increments until they beat the earlier bid.

As an auction sniper, you don't have to worry about another bidder coming in and bidding the auction up. There is no time for additional bids.

Here Is An Example I Found On Ebay

This is a great example. The high bidder (Bidder 1) bid four times to protect his bid when others outbid him.

Look at the top four bids. If Bidder 1 was an auction sniper at bid at the end of the auction, Bidder 2 would have been the high bidder at $65 and would not have bid $70. Bidder 1 would have bought this for 66 dollars and saved $5 by sniping.

From looking at this the high bid could have been much less because there was lots of incremental bidding from the same bidders. Bidders 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7 all bid more than once for this item. This is insane.

This auction was for a common item I regularly sell for about 30 dollars. I did a search on eBay and found 5 auctions for this same item that ended within two weeks of this auction. The lowest selling price for one in similar condition was $23.88. The highest selling price was $34.00. The average selling price for this item in similar condition was 29.00.

Yet, here is the same item selling for $71.00. Any of the bidders on this auction could have searched eBay and purchased one of the other ones listed at the same time for about $30. Instead they let emotion drive them and over paid. By bidding at the last minute, you remove the emotion. Being an auction sniper makes good sense.

Auction Ended Jul-13-03 17:00:00
Bidding History (Highest bids first)
User ID Bid Amount Date of Bid
Bidder 1 $71.00 Jul-13-03 15:14:42
Bidder 2 $70.00 Jul-13-03 09:21:17
Bidder 1 $65.00 Jul-12-03 18:52:29
Bidder 2 $65.00 Jul-13-03 09:20:47
Bidder 3 $51.99 Jul-11-03 20:12:30
Bidder 1 Jul-10-03 21:14:11
Bidder 3 $47.99 Jul-11-03 20:12:00
Bidder 3 $43.99 Jul-09-03 18:32:38
Bidder 4 $40.00 Jul-08-03 08:28:02
Bidder 1 $39.00 Jul-06-03 09:34:44
Bidder 4 $38.00 Jul-08-03 08:27:49
Bidder 5 $35.00 Jul-05-03 20:21:22
Bidder 1 $28.00 Jul-05-03 19:55:01
Bidder 5 $25.00 Jul-05-03 20:21:05
Bidder 6 $20.00 Jul-04-03 15:10:30
Bidder 7 $5.00 Jul-04-03 15:42:28
Bidder 7 $3.00 Jul-04-03 15:42:10
Bidder 8 $2.00 Jul-04-03 05:43:56
Bidder 9 $1.00 Jul-03-03 22:23:29

Auction Bid Sniper Facts

You cannot snipe an eBay auction if you do not know what you are willing to pay. Then again, if you do not know the value of something, you should not be bidding anyway. You should always check to see what other items are available on eBay, and search completed auctions to get an idea of what similar items sold for. Failure to check for other auctions is the biggest reason for over paying on eBay.

Back when I first started sniping auctions, I would sit at the computer and manually bid about 20 seconds before the auction ended. This was a hassle. I kept a calendar so I could keep track of the bids. I had to make sure I was at home so I could bid.

A few times I forgot to check my calendar, and missed bidding on items I wanted. Once, I lost my Internet connection just as I was setting up the bid and lost an item I wanted for my collection. There had to be a better way.

Auction Sniper Programs

Auction snipe programs are a better way. There are sites that will automatically submit your bid in the last 10 seconds of an auction. I have been using different sites for years. They are easy to use and very reliable.

With a sniper program, you set up the snipe and the software does the rest. Your computer doesn't even need to be on. Now I go through the auctions I want to bid on and set up snipes every few days and let the programs do my bidding for me.

eBay Snipe Program Review

Below is a list of eBay auction sniper sites. I tested most of these auction sniper programs and have ranked them based on my experience.

Some of the sites have browser add ons. These are toolbars you add to Internet Explorer in order to make sniping easier. I did not install browser add ons. While the sniper toolbars make sniping easier, I do not install programs to my computer because of the chance of screwing up my computer.

Some of the sites will send a notice when a snipe you set up will not beat the current bid amount. This will allow you to raise your snipe to a higher level. Some of them will send you an email after the auction ends telling you the result of your bid. I prefer to set up a snipe and then walk away.

Choosing An Auction Sniper Service

Some of these sites charge flat fees for monthly or yearly time periods, others charge a percentage of the bid amount whenever you win an auction with their service. If you buy lots of items or buy a expensive items using a snipe program that charges a percentage will cost you more than one of the flat fee sniper services.

Using An Auction Sniper Service

I used to set up snipes the night before an auction ended, but recently - maybe as a result of my age - I've forgotten a few times. Now I set up a snipe as sooon as I see something I want.

All of the auction sniper programs I tested correctly submitted the bids within the last few seconds of the auction.

Auction Sniper Sites

Note: the links below are NOT affiliate links. I don't get paid for linking to these sites.

Auction Sniper
In the fall of 2019 I had problems with Bid O Matic and asked some of my regular eBay buyers for recomendations. Of seven responses, FIVE recommended Gixen. The program is web based so you don't need to have your computer on to snipe. There is a free service that gives you enough for whatever common items you might be buying, and a paid mirror service that causes two different servers to bid your snipe in the last few seconds. I've seen buyers with two last second bids as a seller and this explains why. This is a failsafe so if one server is down or has connection problems, the other gets through. The mirror site is not required, but costs only $6 a year, and payment removes the payment screen. Gixen is now the program I'm using for my snipes.

I've been using this program for a few years. This is a program you download and install on your computer. You must have your computer on when the auction ends. It's free, and works well. It's written in German, but has an English installation option. Note: I lost a few items when I first started using the snipe program, because I assumed the button that said "Automatic Mode Off" turned the program off, and "Automatic Mode On" meant it was on. It's backwards. Green "Automatic Mode On" means the program will snipe for you. I put a post it note on my monitor when I'm sniping to remind me not to turn the computer off.

Note added in Feb. 2020: I had problems with Bid O Matic not connecting to eBay with the correct password in the late fall of 2019. I couldn't get teh snipe program to update my watched items lists so I could bid. Over the nine years I used Bid O Matic, I had few problems, and the program was quickly corrected to match whatever changes ebay had made. But this time, the programmers didn't correct the problems so I switched to Gixen.

This was my favorite for years. In 2010 they had intermittent problems connecting with eBay and a few of my bids weren't placed. JustSnipe explained this as a problem with eBay, and say it's been corrected. Up to five snipes a week are free. If you need more than five snipes a week, it's only five dollars a month. That makes it the cheapest snipe program available. Doesn't rely on browser add-ons, but instead uses a simple bookmark button. Even if you are not familiar with putting bookmarks on your toolbars, the process will only take a few minutes. extremely easy to learn.

Charges 1% of the final auction amount for all successful bids up to a maximum fee of ten dollars per auction. Percentage based services seem to be more expensive in the long run unless you buy cheaper items.

A neat feature of this system is it will track a group of snipes and when you win one automatically cancels the others. This is a great feature if you want to buy software or a movie or something. This site has a free version that offers 15 snipes a month, and a paid version called "priority service" that allows unlimited snipes. I tested this service in 2003, and while the pricing has changed since then, it doesn't seem to be a good option unless you're interested in groups.

Paid service with free trial. I tested this in 2003, and was interested in the shadow feature. Back then the shadow allowed you to see what others were bidding on. Now it just shows you the negative and neutral feedback of a seller. ToolHaus offers a similar feedback checking service for free. I don't recommend paying for a snipe service when there are plenty of reliable free ones to choose from.

HammerSnipe, HammerTap, AuctionStealer, AuctionTamer, HammerSnipe PowerTool, BidTamer
These are basically the same program sold under different names. A few of them are freeware browser add ons that try to sell the paid versions. I had a few emails from readers saying this was spyware. The terms of use state the downloads contain information from outside parties. This may be spyware. This program is expensive. Will bid 10 seconds before auction ends unless you pay for the service, then it will bid 3 seconds before auction ends. Based on cost alone this program is not recommended.

During the October 2011 update of this page, I removed links to programs that are no longer available from this page. The only new snipe service I added is Bid-O-Matic. When I started using Bid-O-Matic I tested a few other programs and decided it was the best option.


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