Is eBay Sniping Fair to
Booksellers?

By Joe Waynick
November 23, 2012

eBay sniping is when you place a last minute bid at the end of an auction so that competing bidders don't have enough time to outbid you.

In other words, with only seconds to spare, you place your final bid for books on e-Bay, leaving competitors scrambling to counter your offer before the clock runs out.

Since it's usually physically impossible to respond before the auction ends, you win the item.

But is it fair to profit from online auctions this way? Aren't snipers taking advantage of honest auction bidders?

Others might ask, "Why is sniping 'unfair?'" Is the practice itself the problem, or are there just a bunch of sore losers in the marketplace who are jealous of bidders who are profitable and competitive? Besides, who says that life has to be fair?

Forms of eBay Sniping

Auction sniping can be accomplished either manually or through software run from a desktop computer to help you make extra money online monthly.

However, automated software is the preferred method because by having your own online business you want better precision than manual efforts can provide when you're fishing for hard to find rare books.

The faster and more accurate the software, the closer to the end of the auction the sniping bid can be placed, thereby thwarting any effort to counter the bid of a highly profitable eBay business owner.

Nevertheless, sniping software run on personal computers isn't always reliable due to Internet connection speeds, data latency speeds, and a host of other factors that can influence the failure rate of bids placed for an eBay item selling online.

For those reasons, a profitable business owner will seek out an online sniping service to increase the success rate of their snipe.

It doesn't matter if you sell fiction books or buy and sell comic books. Commercial software run on more powerful and more reliable servers allow buyers to place bids even closer to the auction deadline, perhaps even as late as the very last second of the auction.

With software that fast and accurate, counter measures against snipers is all but impossible.

Forget Unfair -- Is eBay Sniping Legal?

Although auction sniping may not be popular with some bidders, it isn't necessarily against the rules of the auction sites.

For example, eBay doesn't prevent bidders from using software or manually sniping bids in the last seconds of an auction. One of the reasons that eBay doesn't object is because it uses what's known as a "proxy" bidding system.

Just what is proxy bidding?

It's a bidding system that allows profitable eBay businesses to enter the maximum amount they're willing to pay without having to reveal their upper limit.

The auction site then manages the bidding to only show the current maximum bid instead of the maximum amount individual buyers are willing to pay.

Lets say there's an online bookseller offering 250 bookstore books for sale. If the current bid is $100.00 and the minimum bid increment is $1.00 and a bidder is willing to pay $400.00 for the lot, the bidder enters $400.00 as his or her bid.

However, the auction site only shows $101.00 as the current maximum bid. The maximum amount the buyer is willing to pay remains hidden.

If a sniper comes along and bids $102.00 in the last few seconds of the auction, the system will automatically counter the snipped bid at $103.00. Now it's the sniper who gets sniped and loses the auction.

How to Fight eBay Sniping

Sticking to websites that support auction buying and selling online with proxy bidding the way eBay does, is one way to fight sniping.

Another way is to frequent sites like iGavel.com and TradeMe.com because they'll automatically extend the auction deadline by a few more minutes if a bid is placed too close to the end of the auction.

And finally, you can thwart snipers by participating in auctions that end at an arbitrary time within a fixed window, instead of ending at an exact time that can be anticipated.

Terminating an auction randomly doesn't give the sniper an opportunity to time a bid to beat out other buyers.

Sniping Strategies

Why would buyers legitimately want to engage in eBay sniping?

One reason is to avoid bidding wars that increase the price of items higher than what buyers may want to pay. Doing so improves your chances of making money with online auction sites.

Another good reason is to keep your bid secret to discourage other bidders from bidding on something in which you may have a strong interest.

You can find a lot of great books on Amazon about eBay online selling. Just type "eBay Auctions" into the Amazon search box under Keywords for loads of ways to make money selling books online with auctions.

If you hold your bid until near the end of the auction, you may weed out some of the competition and win the auction at a lower price than you otherwise would.

Finally, you can minimize the price you pay for goods by avoiding sites that implement the anti-sniping policies mentioned above.

Whether you approve of sniping or not, implementing the eBay money making secrets in this article can vastly improve the number of auctions you win.

* * * * *

Return To Top: Is eBay Sniping Fair?

Return to Previous Page: e-Bay for Booksellers

Return to Home Page: Making Money Online Selling Used Books

Would you like to comment on this article?

Has this article been helpful to you and/or your business? Would you like to add a point or two I may have missed?

Use the form below to create your own webpage on this site and share your thoughts about the article. You can even write an entire article of your own! In fact, comments consisting of 300 words or more receive priority consideration.

Blatant commercial messages will not be posted. In addition, SPAM or inappropriate comments or pictures (in my sole opinion) will be ignored.

Nevertheless, a SHORT promo for your business and a link back to your website at the end of your comments are permitted.

Sign-up For A
FREE Weekly
Bookselling Tips
Newsletter
Enter eMail Address
Enter First Name

We promise not to sell your information to anyone.

Click to learn more and sign-up with Endicia Dazzle for a FREE TRIAL!
Click for FREE trial!

Click this image to learn about the Dell PDA with barcode scanner attachment

Click to learn
why you need
this device!

Click this image to learn about the Socket Scan Card for your PDA

Click to learn
why the this
Socket Scan
Card is best!