A great service - effective, easy to use and currently free!
17 Oct 2004
Esteal is a great sniping service. It's easy to use, works well, and best of all it's currently free while in beta testing mode.
The website looks basic (beta phase, remember!), but it's easy to use - you just register (quick & painless, unlike some sites), then input your auction item number, maximum bid and 'delta' time, and you're done! It's a no-frills service that does what it needs to do. You don't need to be online or even have your computer switched on at the time of auction, so you can set up your snipes minutes, hours or days before and leave them to it.
It's important to remember that this is beta testing, so occasional hiccups are to be expected. The website stresses this and recommends that you use the service for 'replaceable' auctions, not those unique ones you're desperate to win. The website has up-to-date notices about any problems (e.g. a recent outage due to ebay site changes necessitating esteal upgrades).
There are improvements to be made - for example, the site currently uses US time & currency, but this is easy for UK and other international users to overcome once you know how. These are the sorts of things they need feedback on to iron out.
There is good support provided, including user forums on the website where you'll generally get a helpful response from the admins. These are useful for new users to read, as common questions are likely to have been answered there.
Overall, this is a great little program that, whilst currently quite skeletal, does the job effectively. I have recently won plenty of auctions with the help of esteal. It should be even better when it's perfected - I just hope it remains free to use!