EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 214 - May 04, 2008 - ISSN 1528-6703     3 of 7

Bidnapper Sniping Expands Beyond eBay

By Jan Perry

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A winning bid that seems to come from nowhere with just a second or two to go before the close - that's a snipe - and anyone that has more than a casual experience with online auctions has probably seen (or even been a victim of) a snipe or two.

While the practice originated with individual buyers manually placing bids as close to the auction close as possible, it's become big business with dozens of companies offering surrogate sniping services for a fee.

One such organization is Bidnapper. And according to Daniel and Taylor Abercrombie, partners of Abercrombie Online who own and administer the site, things at Bidnapper are about to change for the bigger as well as the better.

"We have received many requests over the years to offer support for other auction sites, in addition to eBay and its international sites," said Taylor. "While eBay has a dominant position in much of the world and for most categories, there are other locations,... and categories (guns, stamps, coins, etc.) which are served by "second tier" auction sites."

Taylor stated that interest in the expansion of Bidnapper's sniping service has been on the rise.

"Requests have done nothing but increase recently. Our work in this effort began a while ago, but timing seems pretty good for us."

When asked if the demand could be attributed to a growing discontent among eBay users he replied, "Our expansion of service is not directly tied to anything going on at eBay or what our users perceive from recent changes at eBay. Our new initiative started before recent changes at eBay, and are in response to what our customers have told us they want. I would hate to put words in their mouths, or theorize why our users are seeking out other auction venues."

He explained further by saying, "As an example of sites we are adding to serve our customers which have nothing to do with any recent policy changes at eBay, two of the most popular requests for support are for GunBroker.com and Auctionarms.com. eBay has a strict policy against listing anything relating to firearms, and this is nothing new. "

And, he added, "Other international users have asked for bidding services for their domestic sites like Tradera, Allergro, Aukro and Yahoo! Japan. While other, new, seller-related policies may have sent some listings to other venues, this was not our primary motive to expand."

There are two major versions of sniping services available. There are software based, do-it-yourself snipes that allow users to buy the software and create their own auction grabs. The other involves "live online" setups (web-hosted services). The advantage of the former is there no need to reveal your user name and password to a third party. The attraction of the latter is "set it and forget it" simplicity. Such is the case with Bidnapper. You choose the auction, set your price limit and they do the rest.

To answer the question of security, Bidnapper says it uses industry-standard encryption to secure its database and servers and are security tested daily by a third party.

At the time this story was written Bidnapper had nearly 40,000 snipes set and ready to go.

"Our finest feature is our reliability. We have invested in the infrastructure to offer a rock-solid service which provides value to our customers at a fair price. We are adding to that value by now offering service in other parts of the world, and to sites on the internet our competition does not. We are listening to our customers, and we are both benefiting."

In addition to eBay, here are the sites currently being beta tested/serviced by Bidnapper.

US
Bidtopia.com ($.99 start, no reserve) uBid.com (Surplus, Refurb, etc)
Bidz.com (Jewelry)
Liquidation.com (Surplus, Refurb, etc)
Propertyroom.com (Police auctions)
Delcampe.com (Antiques & Collectibles)
GunBroker.com (Guns, Firearms, etc)
Auctionarms
Shopgoodwill.com
eBid.net (all sites)
OnlineAuction.com
Overstock Auctions
webidz.com
CQout.com
ePier.com

International:
Tradera.com (Sweden)
Oztion.com.au (Australia)
Yahoo.co.jp (Japan)
Allegro.pl (Poland)
Molotok (Russia)
Teszvesz (Hungary)
Aukro (Slovakia, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine)

Bidnapper Sniping Fees
Bidnapper offers a 15-day free trial and a flexible program that lets members pay by subscription (Preferred Service 1 month $7.99 to 1 year $49.99) or by lot (Preferred Service 10 snipes for $19.99 or 25 for $36.99). As long as you maintain your account, the price you pay is locked at the current rate.
http://www.bidnapper.com

Other Sniping Services
AuctionBytes "Sniping Services at a Glance"
http://auctionbytes.com/cgi-bin/charts/chart.pl?Sniping_Services


About the author:

Jan Perry is a freelance writer currently living in Northern Kentucky. She has authored a web site review column for The Cincinnati Post for the past 10 years (http://www.perrypostings.com) along with features on everything from rock climbing in Red River Gorge to her wild ride in a Red Baron biplane. She's been an eBay member, buying and selling, since 1997 and a collector of many things just about all of her 56 years. She's in the process of selling a collection/accumulation of more than half-a-million new, used and antique buttons through eBay. She has written an as yet unpublished mystery book and is currently working on her first novel.


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