Tips for Buying on eBay sales, Getting Deals on eBay, Part 7 – Using an eBay Auction Sniper Service

You’ve found an item that you want to bid on. Instead of placing a bid right away, I strongly recommend that you use a sniping service such as, to place your bid for you.

What is eBay sniping, what are the benefits of sniping, and what is a sniping service?

eBay auction sniping at the act of waiting until the last few seconds of an auction to place your bid. The point of sniping is to keep your bidding intentions secret. When an item has a bid on it, it magically seems more attractive to other potential bidders. The more activity that an auction listing has (number of bids, questions publicly displayed), the more attention that it is going draw. More attention usually equals a higher ending price.

Sniping can save you money by not drawing attention to the item that you are interested in. Also, you’ll avoid emotional bidding wars that can drive the price of an item way up. In the heat of a bidding war, some bidders will see the auction listing as a competition that they MUST win, and rational thinking goes out the window. You yourself may get caught up in the excitement of a bidding war and bid higher than you would normally.

Automated sniping (using a sniping service) saves you time because as soon as you find an eBay item that you want, you can schedule a snipe for it and then go about your day, not having to be at the computer when the auction ends.

Another benefit of using a sniping service is that you can change your mind and cancel your snipe before it is executed (as long as there is at least five minutes left in the auction – when using Hidbid at least) without having to retract your bid on eBay. eBay, and definitely sellers, frown upon bid retractions and is a bit of a pain to do.

An eBay sniping service is either a web based service or desktop program that automatically places a bid for you that you schedule. Again, I recommend because it is the service I am most familiar with, it is reliable, easy to use, free, and because I had it created myself. So, Hidbid is the service I will be referring to below.

To get started sniping, go to, click on the “Sign Up” link, and follow along.
I’m not going to describe how to set up a snipe in this article, but it is very easy and quick to do and any questions that you may have can probably be answered by viewing Hidbid’s FAQ page. I will cover a couple of points that you should be aware of when using Hidbid, and when sniping in general.

First, you will have to submit your eBay login information to Hidbid when scheduling a snipe. This is so because Hidbid must essentially log in to eBay just as you would when placing a bid. This makes some people very uncomfortable and understandably so.

There’s just no way around this. Hidbid uses SSL security (industry standard) throughout the site and it encrypts any sensitive information that is temporarily stored on it’s server.

Ideally when sniping, you want your bid placed too late in the auction for a manual sniper to react but hopefully before any other snipe that is scheduled for the same item. If two bids on an item are the same or there is not enough difference between them to meet the minimum bid increment for that item, the first bid in wins.

In my opinion, five seconds (Hidbid’s default setting) is ideal because you’ll beat out the manual snipers and also if there is a slight delay in the communication (4 seconds or less) between Hidbid and eBay, your bid will still be placed.

Scheduling a snipe for an item does not guarantee that you will win it. You still have to have the highest bid.
There is also the possibility that your bid will not be placed.
Problems or delays in communication between Hidbid’s and eBay’s servers, a Hidbid or eBay system error, or having the incorrect eBay login information are all potential reasons that a scheduled snipe would not be executed.

Even with these potential problems, sniping is the best way to bid on items, and I snipe every auction that I bid on. It makes no sense not to.
Despite popular belief, sniping is not against eBay’s rules. I have seen a quote somewhere from an eBay staff member stating that, and others stating that sniping is part of the auction process.

I’ve also seen it claimed that eBay sellers hate snipers because the result of sniping is lower final prices.
Okay, this article is too long already, so give sniping a try with your next eBay aution listing that you want to bid on.

Also, watch for the next installment for more eBay buyings tips including how to find great deals available with misspellings in auction titles, and a summary of what we’ve covered in all previous articles.

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