I normally bid myself at the last minute, with pretty good success rate. But something that I want is finishing mid-morning on Sunday, when I won't be around. I don't want to put in a high bid now cos I think other bidders will just push it up and outbid me.
If you've used a sniper, would you recommend it? I don't envisage using it a lot, and certainly don't want to pay for it, but just want a quick fix. Any useful info welcomed!
Pinot, you give them your ebay name and password, and the maximum bid you are prepared to put on the item. The sniper then places your bid automatically about 5 seconds before the auction ends. There are two advantages. The first is that you don't actually bid early on, so don't drive the price up by bidding. The second is that if you are at work or can't get to a computer, that you don't have to place the bid yourself.
http://www.hidbid.com is a good service to use. Just remember, you still have to have the highest bid to win. Except, when 2 bids are the same or there isn't enought difference between them to meet ebay's minimum bid increment. In that case, the firt bid in wins.
So, if people were completely rational, the best strategy would be to bid the very second an item is listed.
I'll stick to the sniping thing however, as the rational thing will never happen.
Automated sniping is a convenience for people who want to avoid drawing attention to an item, the 'nibbling' bidders who really have no max in mind, just want to see themselves as the current high bidder, and the normally higher ending price that comes with those things.
A couple more benefits of sniping:
1. Sniping is actually a way of combatting shill bidding - when the seller or his buddy bids on the item until they're the high bid, and know your max, then retract their bid, and use yet another account to bid on the item, bidding just below your max. You don't give the shiller time to retract their bid in order to leave you as the high bidder, close to your max. You can't do much about a shill bidder letting their bid ride to the end of the auction, if it just raises but doesn't exceed yours.
Also, look out for 2nd chance offers, as they would be a reason for the shiller to let their shill bid ride, you may want to decline any and look for a different seller with the same item. Unless of course, the price seems ok with you, even though possible artificially jacked up.
2. You can just cancel a snipe with up to 2 or 3 minutes before the end of an auction, if you change your mind about bidding on an item, and your bid won't be placed. If you place a bid on ebay and then retract it (not a seller's or ebay's favorite thing), you can be blocked from bidding on other auctions after doing this a few times, not sure what that # is.
Anyone bidding on ebay should understand ebay's proxy bidding system (accepts your whole bid amount, increases it only enough to be the high bid, or, until it has been exceeded), and have an idea about their bid increments: