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Chapter 22. Online Auctions > Winning Bids with Sniping

Winning Bids with Sniping

Sniping is a technique used to win auctions by not bidding at all over the course of the auction, but then swooping in at the very last minute with an insurmountable bid. The thinking behind this strategy is simple. By not disclosing your interest, you don’t contribute to bidding up the price during the course of the auction. By bidding at the last minute, you don’t leave enough time for other bidders to respond to your bid. The successful sniper makes one bid only—and makes it count.

Sniping happens on eBay because the end time of each auction is rigidly enforced. If you know an auction ends at 12:01:30, you can time your snipe to hit at 12:01:29, leaving no time for any other bidders to trump your bid. Some other auction sites, such as Yahoo! Auctions, have flexible end times; if there is bidding within the last five minutes of an auction, the auction is automatically extended by another five minutes, giving extra time for other bidders to respond to a snipe.


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