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eBay Hacks, 2nd Edition by David A. Karp

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Hack #27. Snipe It Automatically

Use eSnipe to snipe without actually having to be in front of a computer when the auction ends.

Sniping [Hack #26] is an effective way to increase your odds of winning an auction while simultaneously lowering the final price you pay. But there are significant drawbacks to sniping that limit its practical usefulness:

  • You have to be in front of your computer, ready to bid, at the exact time the auction ends.

  • It's nearly impossible to snipe two or more auctions ending at the same time.

  • If your computer crashes or your Internet connection goes down moments before you snipe, you lose.

  • You can easily forget to bid, or even become distracted moments before bidding time. (I can't tell you how many times I've been distracted by a doorbell ring or a good song on the radio, only to turn around and find that I've missed my two-minute sniping window.)

The solution, of course, is to simply bid early, and then return to the auction after it's over to find that you've been outbid by four cents. Fortunately, there is a better way.

A number of sniping services are available that will automatically place a bid for you at a specified time, typically a few minutes or seconds before the end of an auction. Some sniping services are simply standalone software programs that run on your computer, but these suffer some of the same limitations as sniping manually—namely, that your home computer be turned on and connected to the Internet at the right time. The better services are ...

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