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Mon June 4 2007 13:43:47

eBay Bid-Sniping Statistics

By: Ina Steiner

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Mario Vodopivec runs a free sniping service for eBay bidders called Gixen. He's published some numbers on how many eBay auctions he believes are "sniped" - a term for last-second bidding on an online-auction.

He refers to Andy Geldman's estimates published on, and he points to the sniping chart on AuctionBytes, where sniping vendors self-reported the number of registered users and bids per week. (It's important to note that sniping services do not regularly update these numbers and the chart is a number of years old.)

Here are some things to consider when trying to estimate the percentage of auctions sniped on eBay:

- There may be multiple snipe bids on one auction, but there can only be one winning bid.

- How you count sniping matters. For example, Mario only considered bids placed around 10 seconds before auction end time as snipe bids (Gixen places bids around 5 seconds before auction end, he says.)

- Are you counting automated sniping exclusively, or including manual sniping?

I haven't given much thought to how many auctions are sniped, but I concede it would be interesting to see a chart of how the percentage of auctions that are sniped has changed over the life of, perhaps by category.

Comments (12) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Bid-Sniping Statistics   eBay Bid-Sniping Statistics

by: Helen

Mon Jun 4 15:50:13 2007

I really wish eBay would make their auctions more like true real life auctions. In real life the auctioneer will not stop taking bids until they dry up. All eBay has to do is auto-extend an auction until there have been no bids for maybe 30 seconds. That is doing the right thing by sellers, giving all buyers the chance to make their maximum bid and will stop certain affiliates creaming off a substantial slice of eBays income putting upward pressure on the fees sellers pay. And I do know that eBays affiliate terms say sinping services shouldn't be affiliates now.

eBay Bid-Sniping Statistics   eBay Bid-Sniping Statistics

by: Top Ebay tips

Mon Jun 4 16:26:32 2007

Great information.
I had no idea there were so many services out there.

Also thanks for the sniping chart. Nice to have a rundown of the prices, services and features available.

eBay Bid-Sniping Statistics   eBay Bid-Sniping Statistics

by: Lorna

Tue Jun 5 08:27:39 2007

Ebay is a timed auction....not a real auction! If you can't decide how much you are going to bid in 3, 5, 7 or 10 days, how are you going to decide in a couple of extra minutes? Learn to use the proxy system all ready in place. It's not when you bid, it's how much you bid. The highest bid wins, not the last!
Auction extensions increases non-paying bidders. AS a seller I list my auctions so that they end when I want them to. I absolutely do not want an extention on the time!!! I have also been a seller since 1997. People who whine about auction extensions are usually nibblers who try to low ball sellers. Bid once, bid your max!!!!!!

eBay Bid-Sniping Statistics   eBay Bid-Sniping Statistics

by: Cheri

Tue Jun 5 09:47:49 2007

People forget that sniping often benefits sellers. They can drive the price of an item up to the maximum bid at the last second. Snipers pay immediately because they're online when the auction ends. I love buyers that I don't have to nag!

And the sniper doesn't have a second chance if their bid isn't high enough. So, the sniper doesn't always win.

Personally, I think the sniping services take the fun out of online auctions. But, people are willing to pay for the service, so why not offer it? Everyone is entitled to earn an honest living.

As a seller, it's fun to witness a bidding war on one of your auctions. On the flip side, as a buyer, why should I give someone else an opportunity to outbid me -- especially on a popular item?

eBay Bid-Sniping Statistics   eBay Bid-Sniping Statistics

by: Violette

Tue Jun 5 13:29:03 2007

Not all snipers are online when they win an auction.  I use sniping services all the time for two main reasons.  One, I work as a consultant and am always in different work locations where I can't guarantee having Ebay access.  Sniping lets me bid when I don't have direct access to the site.  Second, I'm busy, like a lot of people are.  I have frequently forgotten to bid on an auction that interests me (with much kicking myself later).  By setting my max bid via a sniping service, I don't have to worry about forgetting to put in my bid.  I don't bid early, because every time I have, I have been outbid.  Sniping gives me a better chance of actually winning the auction.  I also don't want automatic extensions, since that would run into the problems I've mentioned above.  If I'm sniping because I can't be online at that time, an extension doesn't do me any good, since I won't know about it.  Much as I'd like to, I can't be on Ebay every minute of every day, so having a set end time makes it much easier to manage my bidding.

eBay Bid-Sniping Statistics   eBay Bid-Sniping Statistics

by: Barbara

Tue Jun 5 15:04:23 2007

I have to side with those who say auctions ought not be extended.  All bidders know when the auction will end and I have no interest in sitting at the computer through the last minutes of an auction.  Sniping lets you make the bid for the most you will consider paying for that item.  You'll either win the item or not, but either way you have made your decision.  This is the same rational decision you make in a store when you decide to pay or not pay the price.

eBay Bid-Sniping Statistics   eBay Bid-Sniping Statistics

by: Sniper Lover

Wed Jun 6 15:37:53 2007

I am a seller and a buyer. I usually use BIN (buy it now) or an automated snipe system. The current system eBay is using is the best for both the seller and the buyer. In a bidding war, the price often gets out of hand and when the smoke clears and the winner realizes he has bid more than the retail price of the item, he is likely to become a non-paying bidder. I don't always win when I snipe, but the seller does. Because if I don't win, the seller gets a higher price from the original high bidder and I haven't gone nuts by bidding and paying more than I really wanted to. It's a win-win situation. Snipe On!

eBay Bid-Sniping Statistics   eBay Bid-Sniping Statistics

by: Caroline

Wed Jun 6 20:23:39 2007

I manually snipe in the last 10 seconds or less, so an automatic extension of the end of auction time could theoretically mean that some auctions would run for several minutes after the official end of auction time if there were several bidders manually sniping on the same auction. So where do you draw the line? It would definitely change my sniping techniques, and would not necessarily benefit the seller, as snipers are now bidding their max. If there is no official end time to an auction, this will make all bidders wary as they don't know how much longer they will have to outbid any competition. I won't bid on an auction that has an auto-extend feature.

eBay Bid-Sniping Statistics   eBay Bid-Sniping Statistics

by: Jackie

Wed Jun 20 18:38:35 2007

I dont think there is anything wrong with sniping, but these days on ebay you almost have to be a sniper to win anything. Truthfully, I think more and more people wait to bid on an auction in the last min. If you dont bid during the auction the price dosnt go up as fast because the people who are bidding normally dont know your watching the item. I think in alot of cases (not all) the seller actually looses money this way. An auction will start at lets say 6 days and for a good 75% of its life listed on ebay nobody wants to touch it. What Ive found is that if I bid too early Im just driving up the price to my max. Then the sniper comes along in the last 30 sec. and outbids me and only pays a few dollars (or less)more for the item. I always thought ebay would do somthing about this but they dont seem to care. I think auto extension is a good idea. However, if you wanna get your favorite items on ebay for now sniping is the best way to win!!!!

eBay Bid-Sniping Statistics   eBay Bid-Sniping Statistics

by: Sumflow This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 7 16:23:36 2011

by: Helen. >In real life the auctioneer will not stop taking bids until they dry up. <
In real life the stock exchange gets tons of orders just before it closes.  It always closes as scheduled.

eBay Bid-Sniping Statistics   eBay Bid-Sniping Statistics

by: massachusetts howler

Mon Nov 7 21:41:28 2011

I am not in support of extensions but I have said for YEARS to deaf ears that folks who REALLY want an item should be able to HYPERBID this is more realistic for auctions, if a widget is at 35 a person making a HYPERBID could bid it instantly up to whatever HE WANTS, like $75. This would be more realistic and you could stop the dribble bids and make it much more REALISTIC.
WHY would feebay not want to do that? It make no sense.

eBay Bid-Sniping Statistics   eBay Bid-Sniping Statistics

by: exdwh This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 7 21:48:56 2011

I've exclusively used a sniping service for more than 5 years. I simply determine my target price and subtract the shipping. There's no emotion involved. Yes, it's disappointing to lose by $1, but who knows how high the competition was prepared to go. There's always another deal around the corner. You might even receive a second-chance offer. If you're prepared to wait, set up a 'saved search' with daily e-mail notifications and keep loading up the snipes. You'll eventually get what you want. This works especially well for media like CDs and DVDs.


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