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eBay Hacks by David A. Karp

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Snipe It Manually

Bid at the last minute to simultaneously ensure that you win the auction and that you pay the lowest possible amount.

It shouldn’t take long to figure out that it’s usually better to bid later in the auction—the later the better. Many eBayers wait until the last few minutes of the auction to bid, leaving no time for lower bidders to be notified and respond with higher bids. This is called sniping, and all it takes is a little nerve and the ability to tell time.

Warning

Sniping leaves no time to read the auction description carefully or to ask the seller any questions you may have. Make sure you take care of these things long before the end of the auction.

When you’ve found an auction you want to snipe, the first step is to track the auction and make note of its closing date and time; see [Hack #24] for details. Then, all you need to do is return to eBay a few minutes before the auction ends and place your bid.

The problem is that many eBay users make a habit of doing this, so you’ll likely have competition. With multiple snipers, the prize often goes to the bidder who can enter a bid closest to the end of the auction.

With Seconds to Spare . . .

The most effective snipes occur within 10 seconds of the end of the auction, leaving no time for other bidders to even see your bid — not to mention outbid you — before it’s too late.

Give yourself about two minutes to set up. Start by opening two browser windows (press Ctrl-N to open a second window), and open the auction ...

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