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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 1117 - September 28, 2005 - ISSN 1539-5065    2 of 4

eBay Opens Door to Legitimate 'Sniping'

By Ina Steiner
September 28, 2005

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By allowing gNumber's Unwired Buyer service to become a certified eBay Compatible Application, eBay may be opening the door to sanctioning the practice known as "sniping," or placing last-second bids on auctions. UnWired Buyer allows users to bid on eBay listings with a mobile phone (or landline phone) during the critical last minutes of the bidding process.

eBay is rumored to be adding an API call for bidding. This would be the first time eBay has provided such a call, which could enable bidding via cellphone, and could even mean eBay is considering providing a sniping service to its buyers. Currently automatic sniping services must "scrape" eBay's data, which is against its policy, and such services "operate under the radar" while remaining very popular with buyers.

eBay has always been ambivalent about the practice of sniping. In 2002, eBay banned sniping in Germany, staying there were concerns by users that people who used sniping services had an "unfair advantage" over people who bid manually.


About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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