Taking Aim At Online Auctions

    January 5, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

There’s nothing like the simple joys of finding something on eBay, putting in a bid, watching the auction clock tick down, and having someone snipe the item out from under the rest of the bidders.

The longtime drawback to auctions online, like eBay’s and Yahoo’s, has been their refusal to do anything about sniping. With auctions ending at a set time, sellers and buyers alike lose out when sniping, or last-second bids usually conducted with software, take place to win the item.

Since the online auctioneers don’t seem interested in making a sensible adjustment, like extending the closing time by a few minutes when a snipe takes place, users have no choice but to resort to fee-based software and Web-based tools to have a legitimate shot at winning auctions.

The Wall Street Journal tested five sniping options. Four Web-based ones competed against a platform-based package to bid on girls’ party dresses.

The AuctionSniper.com service won three out of the four auctions against the other sniping products tested, while the Silent Snipe software (Mac OS X and Win98) won the fourth.

For people hunting down the elusive Xbox 360 game console, sniping may be the best chance of winning one in auction while keeping control of how much one truly wishes to bid for it.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.