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eBay Wrests Control of Snipe Bids


eBay logoeBay has finally corralled third-party sniping services, leaving some eBay shoppers with questions about the future of snipe bids.

If you’re a collector or bargain-hunter, chances are you’ve placed a last-minute bid on eBay to try to win an auction, and win it at the lowest possible cost. Sniping services help automate the process, allowing bidders to set up their snipe bids ahead of time.

The downside: having to provide a third-party company with your eBay password and the security risks that poses. But the upside, users say, is having those bids placed by an independent entity they can trust.

eSnipe told its customers they will no longer collect and store their eBay passwords – instead, they will use eBay’s API technology to submit bids on their behalf.

“I don’t know if eBay gave eSnipe any choice in this matter,” a reader told EcommerceBytes. “However, since I absolutely don’t trust eBay in any matter whatsoever, I worry for the sake of eSnipe (and me, one of its users), that this may not end well.”

In its announcement, eSnipe spun it as a positive. “Now that eBay knows it’s okay for eSnipe to bid for you, eBay will no longer block eSnipe or put up captchas due to concerns about a computer that is not your own placing bids. eBay now knows that eSnipe is authorized to bid for you. The problems eSnipe had with this a few months ago are eliminated.”

eSnipe published FAQs as part of its June 29th announcement:

Q. I already have some bids scheduled! Will this screw them up?

A. Don’t worry! The bids you already placed will be executed. But you won’t be able to place any more bids until you follow these steps to re-authorize your account.

Q. I used to be able to log into eSnipe with my eBay username and password. Why can’t I do that anymore?

A. You are now required to log into eSnipe using only your eSnipe username and password because eSnipe no longer stores your eBay login information. It’s all on eBay. It may seem a little inconvenient but it comes with a HUGE advantage: your eBay user ID information is now managed on eBay, not eSnipe. That means less risk, because it’s stored in just one place: eBay. You no longer have to keep them synchronized on eSnipe.

What’s most surprising is that it took eBay this long and comes 3 years after the infamous eBay data breach of May 2014.

What do you think of this latest move by eBay to force sniping companies to use its API? Leave a comment below.

Ina Steiner on EmailIna Steiner on LinkedinIna Steiner on Twitter
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
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). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.

One thought on “eBay Wrests Control of Snipe Bids”

  1. Ebay is like the controlling partner in a marriage.

    Just another reason to get out of ebay and stop buying from them.

    If ya all don’t the ending will be nasty.

    No person or company should have this much controll over you.

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