FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
How To Lose 78,000 Auctions on eBay And Still Get Rich
Previously unrevealed numbers reveal the strange and unpredictable world of eBay power buyers, who spend millions on eBay and intentionally lose thousands of auctions.
Bellevue, WA - August 9 Date, 2011 - Everyone who’s placed a bid online knows a simple truth. The auction will be won either by the highest bidder or, much more commonly these days, the last to bid. Thus was born eSnipe, a service with the deceptively simple task of placing bids on eBay during the last few seconds of the auction. For users who don’t want to be stuck at the computer when an auction closes at 3:30 in the morning the service is a boon. For sellers who want nothing more than to whip buyers into a frenzy and trigger bidding wars, the story may be different.
Auction Sniper Firm Reveals Surprising Statistics
"Auction snipers develop some pretty weird habits," says CEO Tom Campbell bluntly. "One of our smartest users has won only 12,248 out of 97,689 bids. That user has the system totally pegged." Considering the average eSnipe user wins about 40% of the time, why is such a high failure rate a good thing?
The reason is an unusual fee structure. eSnipe encourages lowball bids because unlike, say, a mechanic or plumber, the firm only charges if they do a perfect job. Massive resources are put to bear on every bid whether it wins or not:
1. Custom server technology (cloud
servers can’t be used due to imprecise clocking).
2. Multiple full-time customer service representatives.
3. Bidding agents placed as close as physically possible to eBay servers in order to reduce latency time across the Internet.
4. Round-the-clock maintenance of specially tuned machines.
All these resources go into what seems like a trivial job--the
placement of a bid on eBay a few seconds before the auction
closes--and all cost the same whether the bid placed was even
close to the expected winning price or not. In other words,
eSnipe customers have every incentive to waste system resources.
eBay Bidding Habits "Preposterous"
That encourages buyers to place unrealistically low bids. After
all, because the auction sniping service costs the customer
nothing if the auction isn't won, a savvy buyer places many such
bids, and those that win are exceptional deals. Bids that don't
win cost eSnipe but not the customer, encouraging a lopsided
economy of what Campbell calls "preposterously low bids at
Does Campbell ever consider a different pricing model? "Are you nuts? Of course not. That kind of bidding is utterly rational. It's a cornerstone to many profitable businesses that rely on eSnipe for their supply chain. We want people to use our service. If it means what might look like abuse of the service, I don't care. Our marginal cost per bid is low. That makes eSnipe sticky." Tens of thousands of customers have been with the service for close to a decade.
Sniping Auctions a Multimillion Euro Habit for One User
Surprisingly, the customer who's placed the 98,000 bids is not the biggest winner on eSnipe.
One customer has placed 55,929 bids and has won 39,974 of them.
Another customer has spent more than 3.5 million Euros in the past six years. Who spends that much on eBay? Probably not the wealthy collectors you'd imagine. "Our best customers almost always have two accounts with us: one as a buyer, and one as a seller,” Campbell explains. "The buyer accounts are usually anonymous and are used to get good prices on underpriced items within the seller's area of expertise. Then they relist the items with better explanations, and voilà--instant profit. If I were smart I'd start monitoring what they're buying," he jests.
And the customer who has used eSnipe's free technical support the most times (130 support incidents) has spent a grand total of $15 with the firm. "Obviously we should fire him," says Campbell. "But even though the numbers don't add up, we're big on tradition. And good customer service has been a tradition since the earliest days of the site.
eSnipe's customer service is U.S.-based, and all representatives have worked with the company for years.
About eSnipe, Inc.
Auction Sniper eSnipe places bids for eBay users during the last few seconds of the auction, a practice called "sniping" in online auction parlance. eSnipe launched in 1999 as one of the early eBay sniper services run on high-speed dedicated servers. eSnipe's multiple servers placed over $350 million worth of bids on eBay in 2010 alone and Rovatron, eSnipe's automated bid-placing engine, places more than 300 bids per second at peak times. eSnipe has been profitable every quarter since June 2001--longer than Amazon, Inc.
eSnipe's founder placed the site for sale on eBay in December 2000. The auction was won by an eSnipe user—using eSnipe to place the winning bid. Former Microsoft program manager Tom Campbell made eSnipe one of the first pay sites on the internet and devised the first known commercial micropayment system. Campbell is also founder of startup EasyOnMe.
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Copyright © 2011 eSnipe, Incorporated. All Rights Reserved. eSnipe is in no way affiliated with nor endorsed by eBay. eBay is a registered trademark of eBay, Inc. eSnipeSM, SnipeItSM, RovatronSM, and BidWizardSM are registered service marks of trademark of eSnipe, Inc.