How to snipe on eBay?
April 29, 2014 9:21 PM   Subscribe

There are a few low value items I am interested in on eBay. They seem to be popular so I would like to use a sniping service to try to win them. How do I do this? I assume that they might need my user name and password or does the service use its own account? What companies are trustworthy? Bonus: I generally use my iPhone/Pad so iOS friendly would be great.
posted by saradarlin to Computers & Internet (17 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I have used in the past with some success and no subsequently compromised Ebay account.
posted by genrand at 9:35 PM on April 29, 2014

I've been using eSnipe for years and I've never had a problem with it. Admittedly, I don't bid on stuff that's very popular; I just like bidding near the auction completion time because I've noticed that once you bid on something publicly, other people who wouldn't have bid at all suddenly think the item must be valuable, and will jump in.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 9:37 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

I don't know much about the sniping services. It's never occurred to me that you might pay someone to buy something on eBay for you. Ken Rockwell has pretty much all you need to know about ebay auctions:
Bid only at the last second, and bid the absolute maximum you would ever want to pay. You'll win, and only pay a couple of dollars above the second highest bidder's bid, regardless of your bid amount.
Search for what you want, get an idea of what's commonly available, and how much people are paying for it. Save the search if nothing catches your fancy right away. (I have several searches saved that I've been monitoring for years.) When you find something you want, set an alarm for the ending of the auction, decide on the maximum you're willing to pay, and bid that amount within the last 10 seconds of the auction.

This works because 5-10 seconds isn't enough time to work people up into a bidding frenzy, so the bids are more rational. I usually add 1-5% to my "max" bid to protect myself from the mental anguish of losing by a trivial amount of money. If someone wants to pay significantly more than I'm willing to spend, so be it.
posted by sportbucket at 10:46 PM on April 29, 2014 [4 favorites]

I've used for 5+ years with success.
posted by suedehead at 11:02 PM on April 29, 2014 [3 favorites]

There are a ton of commercial sniping services. I've been using bidtamer for 10 years or so and have no qualms about recommending them. I'm sure others are just as good or perhaps even better, but I've never felt the need to change. It's nothing you can't do for yourself, but it's a lot more convenient than waiting until the last second, especially when you can't be at your computer at the end of an auction.
posted by mosk at 11:12 PM on April 29, 2014

Frequent manual sniper here (low value items of fishing tackle, etc.) - I think if you can dare to wait until it's ~6 seconds to auction end before bidding (have the maximum amount typed in already) then you can do the job yourself (and hoo boy it's fun!).

You could try it on a few low value items that you don't especially care about winning and keep the paid sniping services for when you can't be at the computer at bid end.
posted by humph at 11:16 PM on April 29, 2014

I've used for years with great results and no problems.
posted by Ministry of Truth at 2:22 AM on April 30, 2014

I've used since 2008, it's 5bids / user / week for free, which has always suited me fine.
posted by defcom1 at 5:25 AM on April 30, 2014

Another happy user here.
posted by kimdog at 5:52 AM on April 30, 2014

Another happy Gixen user.
posted by nanook at 6:32 AM on April 30, 2014

jbidwatcher. Freeware, have used it for years and years, and works perfectly.
posted by liquado at 6:51 AM on April 30, 2014

No need to use a sniping service, sportbucket's post contains all you need to know to win on eBay -- it's all about the last-minute timing.
posted by Rash at 8:51 AM on April 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Another happy user. But yeah, sportbucket said all you need to know. But some items close at inconvenient times, and the sniper is good for those.
posted by bluesky78987 at 9:22 AM on April 30, 2014

Response by poster: So I decided not to use a sniping service as per rash, sport bucket and hrumph. As mentioned I am using an iPhone to do the biding and it failed to process the bid. I tried with 40 seconds left and 4 times I was able to "confirm" my bid but the site never accepted. So the auction was lost. I would strongly recommend to anyone else reading that they don't count on being able to manually place a bid on anything other than a desktop/laptop. :( Sad Panda
posted by saradarlin at 4:20 PM on April 30, 2014

A "sniping service" isn't anything but a program that will handle the last-minute bid for you, with a better Internet connection than your phone.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 11:30 PM on May 3, 2014

Well crap, I'm sorry to hear that, saradarlin. I've won a handful of auctions from my iPhone, so I know it's possible, but I suppose you're always at the mercy of your network connection. I'm sorry you lost the auction!
posted by sportbucket at 2:23 PM on May 7, 2014

Sorry to hear that! =(

And Harvey Kilobit, it's also that the sniping service's time and eBay's server's times are synchronized, and that the sniping service knows how long it takes for a bid to get processed, so that it can time the bid right.
posted by suedehead at 4:34 PM on May 8, 2014

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