Problems that sniping creates

Auction ended with Buy It Now

If an auction is listed with the "Buy It Now" option, a bidder who bids the Buy It Now price wins the auction immediately, and the auction is closed.

You can tell whether an auction allows Buy It Now by looking at the upper part of the auction description:

Item #1241302
Music:Musical Instruments:Guitar:Acoustic
Currently $45.00 (reserve not yet met)
Buy It Now for US $150.00
Quantity 1
Time left 4 days, 15 hours +

If Buy It Now is offered, you must make a choice based on your experience with eBay auctions. How great is the risk that someone will Buy It Now in this particular case? You may decide the risk is small enough to tolerate, and plan to snipe the auction anyway.

If you think the risk of Buy It Now is too great, you have two options.

First, you can exercise Buy It Now yourself.

Second, you can enter a small "placeholder" bid. eBay eliminates the Buy It Now option once a bid is placed. Your bid discloses the fact that you're interested in this auction, but it eliminates the risk that you'll lose the auction to Buy It now. (If the auction has a reserve price, the bid must meet or exceed the reserve.)