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What is Sniping?

Understanding this controversial practice on eBay

So you’ve finally found the perfect Corvette for sale at auction. You’ve researched the seller, stayed one step ahead of the other bidders and now the auction is about to close. There’s been no activity for the last day and you’re getting confident that this classic Corvette will be in your garage next week. You’re glued to your computer screen watching the minutes tick by and constantly refreshing the eBay auction page to make sure you’re still high bidder. 30 seconds left…15 seconds left. It’s in the bag. The auction ends…and…you’re…the…loser! Someone outbid you! Arrggghhh!

But how can that be? The answer is… you’ve been sniped.

What is Auction Sniping?

Sniping is the tactic of placing a bid at the very possible last second of an auction. The sniper swoops in and becomes the high bidder, thus not leaving any time for other bidders to react and try to outbid the sniper. It’s a controversial practice and can be absolutely infuriating if you’re the one who gets outbid. But it’s totally legal as far as eBay is concerned. There are even services (synced to eBay server clocks) that have a computer bid for the sniper, ensuring that it’s done at the very possible last second of the auction.

But you can combat sniping by using the eBay proxy bidding process. Sniping only works against bidders using the traditional manual bid process. This is where they only bid the minimum incremental amount needed to be the high bidder at that moment. People that do this simply don’t understand the proxy bidding process, because if they did they wouldn’t become victims of a sniper. The only time that sniping can actually work against you if you’re using proxy bidding, is if the sniper enters a bid higher then your maximum. But if that’s the case, you shouldn’t feel back about losing, because you had already determined your max price and bid it. You should have already been at peace with the fact that if you’re max bid was beaten then the Corvette wasn’t worth the extra money.