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What is Auction Sniping?

L. S. Wynn
By L. S. Wynn
Updated May 16, 2024
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Online auctions are one of the most popular uses of the internet. Ebay is the leading auction site, and it basically serves as marketplace where sellers can show off their goods to a vast number of buyers. Items for sale vary from knick-knacks to collectibles to houses to businesses. The array of items for sale is staggering.

Auctions typically last for a fixed period of time, and bidders enter the highest amount they are willing to pay for an item. The highest bidder at the close of the auction earns the right to purchase it at the agreed price. Most auctions are set to last for one week but some last as little as three days and others as long as 10 days or a month.

Sniping is a technique that attempts to get the best possible price for auction bidders. If you bid a few days before the end of an auction, other bidders will have a chance to react to your bid and decide if they want to bid a higher amount. Sniping means that you place a bid as close to the end of an auction as possible to minimize the amount of time your competitors have to increase their bid. You can manually snipe (enter your bid manually before the end of an auction), but there are also automated services in which a computer automatically places your bid just seconds before the close of an auction. Such automatic sniping can be achieved with special software that you run on your computer, or there are companies that will provide the sniping service for you (these are generally more reliable). Some sniping services are free and they can help you get better prices on auctions. Note that sniping is different than proxy bidding, which is offered for free by many auction sites.

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