Sniping - an issue again?

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Herts, England United Kingdom
Andy
Kudos: 11,637
Joined: Jan 1, 2001
Sniping - an issue again?
3 Oct 2005
Sniping has raised its head again, following the launch of mobile bidding tool Unwired Buyer, and rumours that eBay is adding an API call for bidding - reported in AuctionBytes - which could pave the way for faster, more reliable sniping.

The practice of automated bidding in the last seconds of an auction has been around for years, but still causes much anger amongst buyers beaten before they could re-bid and sellers who blame it for low auction prices.

What do you think about sniping?

[Last edited: 3 Oct 2005]
Andy Geldman, Web Retailer
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West Michigan USA United States
ProBizTeam
Kudos: 140
Joined: Feb 17, 2004
Re: Sniping - an issue again?
3 Oct 2005
I've been sniping on eBay for over seven years. Originally, I used a PC-based application that required my computer be on, connected to the Internet and the software running. Not the best solution.

I've tried a number of other sniping solutions and have been using eSnipe (www.esnipe.com) for almost three years. It's reliable (a Ten), simple to use (a Seven) and has saved me thousands of dollars over its low cost to use.

It's not a big surprise that eBay would build an API for bidding. eBay makes more money on completed auctions than listings that never result in a sale. Anything they can do to stimulate the buying process results in additional profits.

Sellers who are angered by sniping are generally those that are too cheap to use eBay's "Reserve Price" function. Or they are people for whom eBay is their "life." As a "seasoned buyer," I've learned to screen sellers for a potential negative reaction to sniping. If they've ever left negative/neutral feedback due to a buyer sniping one of their auctions, I simply don't bid.
United States United States
jwalkertx
Kudos: 75
Joined: Jul 23, 2005
Re: Sniping - an issue again?
3 Oct 2005
I have been an ebay seller for 2 years , am a powerseller and work ebay full time. Please keep in mind that other ebay sellers may disagree with what I have to say. My ONLY problem with sniping is that more bidders don't use it on my auctions. I wish they would snipe away. If they did, I would: Close more sales on items that would not have sold, get higher bids on items that would sell anyway and gain more revenue and profit all around. If I run my auctions right, it is hard to see too many negatives (so to speak :-).
United States United States
C. Eric Smith
Kudos: 15
Joined: Oct 4, 2005
Re: Sniping - an issue again?
4 Oct 2005
My name is Eric Smith -- I'm the President and CTO of gNumber (developers of UnWired Buyer for eBay)

I saw this comment and just wanted to take the opportunity to clarify that UnWired Buyer is not a sniping tool.

Fundamentally, UnWired Buyer allows the user to interact with their auctions in the final minutes as if they were logged into a broadband connected PC.

Let me start by clarifying what sniping is, and what it isn't:

Sniping IS NOT the process by which an individual user, logged into eBay, places a bid in the final minutes or seconds of an auction. That process is best described as "late bidding."

Sniping IS the process by which a user -- by using 3rd party software or web-based services-- withholds a proxy bid from eBay's servers on a given auction until the final moments of the auction, at which point the bid is entered at the last second, automatically.

Given this definition, let me address a few key points of differentiation.

Perhaps most importantly, UnWired Buyer is a Certified eBay application meaning UnWired Buyer is tightly integrated into eBay’s platform while sniping software and/or services are actively discouraged. This allows UnWired Buyer to seamlessly integrate into a users watch/bid list, and when an item they’re interested is set to expire, we call them 3 minutes before hand, and allow them to participate when they would otherwise have likely missed the opportunity.

Additionally, UnWired Buyer is not automated. Our users are actually bidding in real-time over the phone rather than surrendering control to an automated service. UnWired Buyer allows users to place bids using the keypad of their phone, and is in most instances faster than using their computer. This helps bring the auction experience to life-- buyers can make critical decisions during the final minutes of an auction, exactly as they could if they were in front of the PC.

Lastly, UnWired Buyer is free to the end user, while sniping software and sniping services typically are not.

Again, UnWired Buyer for eBay is NOT a sniping service.

I hope this clarifies what UnWired Buyer for eBay is (and what it is not). I think you'll find that it's an interesting and cool service. It's free, so please sign up and see for yourself!

-- Eric.

--------------
C. Eric Smith
President/CTO
gNumber, Inc.

[Last edited: 4 Oct 2005]
United Kingdom United Kingdom
duncan
Kudos: 100
Joined: Jul 15, 2004
Re: Sniping - an issue again?
4 Oct 2005
Yes the views of jwalkertx are actually logical - sellers who get angry are crazy - they would have got even less had the item not been "sniped" at the last minute. It can even encourage people to put a higher ebay bid on the defeat the "sniper" as we must remember those who put on a high ebay bid take priority and will still win when the price is even - sellers or buyers who moan about this ar just bad loosers - I to welcome sniping on my auctions!!!!
PS Then this gwire is pretty damned near to sniping in my view!!! Seems like they are a bit jumpy about it is even better than auto sniping!!! Sellers should be really angry about this one!!!!!

[Last edited: 4 Oct 2005]
United States United States
franko
Kudos: 35
Joined: Oct 4, 2005
Re: Sniping - an issue again?
4 Oct 2005
Good try Eric. 10,000 minutes in a 7 day auction but bidding with 3 minutes left isn't sniping. Lol. That is ludicrous.

Oh, and you better go get eBay to change it's own definition of sniping to meet yours:

pages.ebay.com/help/basics/g-sniping.html

The affiliate program prohibits sniping as I understand it, so I can see why you'd like to redefine what sniping is.

While unwired sniping isn't automated it's certainly sniping. And calling a person up with 3 mintues so they can bid with a few seconds left is about as close as you can get to automated sniping.

Perhaps you can share some stats with us on when exactly the people that are calling are placing their bids then if that's not the case. That should be quite interesting indeed.
United States United States
franko
Kudos: 35
Joined: Oct 4, 2005
Re: Sniping - an issue again?
4 Oct 2005
Also anyone know what happened to the last company that did this? I saw it in eBays solutions directory about a year ago but I just went and it's not listed there anymore. No it wasnt SMS. It was a voicemail type system for getting information on your bids and placing bids. I didnt sign up because the site looked like it was made with Front Page or some some high school kid. It had a sample of bidding with it and going through the voicemail like system too. I probably would have signed up if the site didn't look so cheaply done. I don't want to give out my password to just anyone.

Out of business probably so maybe we have nothing to worry about.
United States United States
franko
Kudos: 35
Joined: Oct 4, 2005
Re: Sniping - an issue again?
4 Oct 2005
I just went and read that they've had this in Germany since 2002. Anyone know how it's gone over there?
avaya.com/gcm/master-usa/en-us...02/pr-020909.htm&Wrapper=Print

eBay auction by telephone
In Germany, eBay has recently been offering the option of bidding on articles by telephone. "Voicebidding" is the name of the solution through which the auction house's customers can take part in an auction regardless of whether they have a PC or an Internet connection. When needed, interested parties are called up by the system two minutes prior to the end of the auction to take part in the auction "live". For this application, developed in close cooperation with eBay, mediaBEAM is using the new communication solution Avaya IP Office. All "Voicebidding" requests by eBay customers are handled via Avaya IP Office.
You may want to contact them about your patent pending because they may have something to say about that, lol.
United States United States
franko
Kudos: 35
Joined: Oct 4, 2005
Re: Sniping - an issue again?
4 Oct 2005
Lol, I just cant stop laughing about this one:

Eric says:
Sniping IS NOT the process by which an individual user, logged into eBay, places a bid in the final minutes or seconds of an auction."
eBay says:
Sniping means placing a bid in the closing minutes or seconds of an auction.
Source: pages.ebay.com/help/basics/g-sniping.html

They dont mention automation there. Go view the bidding board on the eBay community pages and everyone calls it sniping, even when it's manual. It's a manual snipe. Still a snipe though.

And just so you all know, I don't really care one way or the other if a person snipes or not. But I do call a sniper a sniper.

[Last edited: 4 Oct 2005]
United States United States
jmbarry
Kudos: 30
Joined: May 17, 2004
Re: Sniping - an issue again?
4 Oct 2005
I've been using AuctionSniper.com for three years. I swear by it. I started using the sniper program because I was getting beat out of auctions (sometimes for $200, $300, $400 total) by 50 cents or a dollar. It was enfuriating.

Even if others didn't snipe, you still have the unfairness of some accessing the internet via high speed means (DSL, cable modem, T1) versus the users coming in via dial up. There is no way that dial up users have a chance of putting in a last minute bid if the item is popular.

I especially like it because many auctions close while I'm at work. If I'm watching eBay instead of my spreadsheets, I get appropriate grief. Since AuctionSniper bids for me, my purchasing is invisible to coworkers.

I agree with the remarks about more people sniping. I bid the maximum that I would be willing to spend, and leave it. (Like RONCO - set it and forget it). If I had to rely on watching each auction, or stepping up my bids toward the end, I might not go as high or might not have the time to be there online.

Before I ramble further, my vote is wholeheartedly in favor of sniping.
cjw
United Kingdom United Kingdom
cjw
Kudos: 20
Joined: Sep 12, 2005
Re: Sniping - an issue again?
4 Oct 2005
I maybe a little thick here. If, for example, Im the high bidder at £50, and my maximum bid is set at £100 and no other bids are placed except an automated sniper who has set his maximum bid at £75. Who would win it? In other words; can an item be sold for less that my maximum bid? If the answer is yes, then it is clearly unfair. If the answer is no, the carry on snipping, but I cant see the advantage.
As a ebay greenhorn Im not sure if I want to use sniping software; I definately dont want to pay for it.
Cheers
United States United States
jmbarry
Kudos: 30
Joined: May 17, 2004
Re: Sniping - an issue again?
5 Oct 2005
About how sniping works, if you have bId a max of $100 and you are the highest bidder currently at $50, the snipe would go in toward the end of the auction for, say, $75 and be shown in eBay as a bId. But your higher bid already is in the system, and you would become the highest bidder at $76.

If for example, you bid $100 and the snipe went in for $75, eBay would reject the bid of $75 and no sniping bid would be placed.

I can't speak for other sniping programs, but the one I use (AuctionSniper) charges when you win but not lose. It's 1% of the final price or at least 25 cents per win, so for me it's worth it. (New customers get the first 3 bids free to try it out.)
cjw
United Kingdom United Kingdom
cjw
Kudos: 20
Joined: Sep 12, 2005
Re: Sniping - an issue again?
6 Oct 2005
Thank you for the clarification. It seems to me that the only advantage to sniping is to "not show your hand" if someone else is prepared to bid high early. However, I wonder if that bidding early can actually discourage interest in an item. A high early bid can look like there is too much interest in it to be a bargain. My conclusion is that sniping is of little consequence (and therefore perfectly fair) to the final outcome to an auction. If we all do the sensible thing, which is:- FORGET WHAT OTHER PEOPLE ARE BIDDING AND DECIDE HOW MUCH YOU ARE PREPARED TO SPEND ON IT. Thats what the mximum bid is for

[Last edited: 6 Oct 2005]

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