The background

Sniping: Bid once, bid late

Sniping makes bidding wars impossible, because there's no time to respond to the high bid. It works like this:

  • You decide on the maximum you're willing to bid.
  • Just before the close of the auction, you bid that amount.
  • If no one bids higher, you win. You know you paid a reasonable price (or at least, a price you thought was reasonable when you were calm and rational).
  • If someone bids higher, you lose. That can only happen because someone really thought the item was worth more than you did—not because someone saw your bid and felt they had to outbid you. You can take some satisfaction from knowing that you couldn't have won without paying more than you thought the item was worth.

So sniping is the best strategy for winning the item you want at a reasonable price, and also for avoiding a bidding war that will force you to lose it or pay more than it is worth.

The next page describes a few problems associated with sniping, and shows how eSnipe can help you avoid them.