Sniping is the term used for bidding on an item just before the auction closes.  

Sniping in online auctions refers to a strategy employed by some bidders to place their bid at the very last moment, just seconds before the auction’s closing time. This technique aims to secure a winning bid by preventing other bidders from having enough time to respond with a higher bid. While sniping can be seen as a strategic move to gain an advantage, it can also generate mixed opinions among participants. In this article, we will explore what sniping is, its potential benefits and drawbacks, and how it impacts online auctions.

What is Sniping?

Sniping is a tactic that involves placing a bid on an online auction item in the final moments before the auction’s official end time. The objective is to catch other bidders off guard, leaving them with little or no time to respond with a higher bid. Sniping can be manually executed by the bidder, who closely monitors the auction’s closing time and manually submits their bid at the opportune moment. Alternatively, there are automated sniping tools available that allow bidders to pre-set their maximum bid and the timing of its submission.

Benefits of Sniping

One of the main advantages of sniping is its potential to secure a winning bid at a lower price. By placing a bid at the last moment, snipers can prevent bidding wars from escalating and drive up the final price. This strategy can be particularly effective if other bidders are unaware of or do not employ sniping themselves. Sniping also saves bidders from continuously monitoring the auction and engaging in back-and-forth bidding, making it a convenient option for those with time constraints or multiple auctions to monitor.

Drawbacks and Controversies

While sniping can be advantageous for the bidder executing the strategy, it is often seen as a controversial practice. Some participants argue that sniping goes against the principles of fair competition and undermines the spirit of online auctions. Critics claim that snipers take advantage of other bidders who may not have had the opportunity to place a higher bid due to the limited time window. This can lead to frustration and disappointment among those who have been outbid without having a fair chance to respond.

Impacts on Online Auctions

The presence of sniping in online auctions can have several implications. Firstly, it can create an unpredictable and dynamic bidding environment, as bidders are uncertain about the timing and intensity of competing bids. This can make the auction more exciting for some participants but may also discourage others who prefer a more transparent and controlled bidding process. Secondly, sniping can influence bidding strategies, with some participants choosing to adopt the same tactic in response to snipers. This can further intensify competition and make it more challenging for bidders to secure a winning bid at a desirable price.

Tips for Dealing with Sniping

If you are participating in an online auction and want to minimize the impact of sniping, there are a few strategies you can consider. One approach is to place your maximum bid early in the auction, ensuring that you are willing to pay the highest amount you are comfortable with. This allows the auction platform to automatically incrementally increase your bid if other participants place higher bids. Another strategy is to actively monitor the auction’s closing moments and be prepared to place a last-minute bid if necessary. By closely observing the bidding activity, you may have a better chance of outsniping other participants.

Sniping is a strategy employed by bidders in online auctions to secure a winning bid by placing it at the last possible moment. While it can offer advantages to those who successfully execute the tactic, it is also a subject of controversy and can generate mixed opinions among participants. Understanding the dynamics of sniping and adopting appropriate bidding strategies can help bidders navigate online auctions effectively and increase their chances of success.

For sniping to be possible the auction needs to have a fixed end time which allows the sniper to bid in the last few seconds and leaves other bidders unable to respond. eBay has fixed end times.

The primary aim when sniping is to give other bidders no chance to respond to your bid.  However, you will also not be able to bid again if you do not beat the current winners proxy so you need to bid your maximum.

Being sniped for the first time usually happens when a buyer is relatively new and usually comes as a complete surprise. Depending on the popularity of the items being sought by the buyer they may get sniped repeatedly and need to learn to do it themselves or keep being outbid.

If you wish to get involved there are three main methods.


  • If you are on a dial up Internet connection which times out every few hours check that it will not be timing out when you are about to place your bid.
  • Open the item you are going to snipe on in 2 browser windows
  • Enter your bid into the box in the first window (ensuring that you enter the correct value)
  • Press Review Bid,
  • Enter your password in the box.
  • Switch windows and refresh
  • Keep refreshing periodically until there are only a few seconds of the auction left. About ten if you are new to sniping.
  • Switch back to the first window and press the place your bid button.
  • Switch back to the first window and refresh again
  • You should see that your bid has been placed, if your maximum was higher then the previous winners proxy you should now see that you have won the auction and depending on how near the end of the auction you placed your bid the auction may have ended otherwise refresh again.

Sniping Web Sites 

If the auction ends at a time when you are unable to bid manually or with a programme on your PC there are web sites which will snipe for you.  Most have a basic, free, service and charge a fee for extra features like remembering lots of snipes, sniping at the very last moment, placing a number of items into a group and bidding on each one until you win one. Use of a sniping web site involves registering with them and they will need your auction user-id and password to be able to bid on your behalf.

Sniping Software

These sniping software programs are designed to place bids on your behalf at the exact moment you specify, maximizing your chances of winning the auction. Here are a few examples of popular sniping software:

  1. Auction Sniper: Auction Sniper is a widely used sniping software that allows you to schedule bids on multiple online auction platforms. It provides features such as bid tracking, automatic bidding, and email notifications. Auction Sniper also offers a mobile app, making it convenient to manage your snipes on the go.
  2. Gixen: Gixen is another popular sniping tool that supports various auction sites, including eBay. It offers free and premium versions with additional features like group bidding and import/export of snipe data. Gixen is known for its reliability and ease of use, making it a favorite among many snipers.
  3. BidNapper: BidNapper is a comprehensive sniping service that offers advanced features like bid groups, bid confirmation, and bid agent for managing multiple auctions. It supports various auction sites and provides detailed bid history and reports for analysis.
  4. Myibidder: Myibidder, also known as Myibidder Auction Bid Sniper, is a sniping software available for both desktop and mobile devices. It allows you to schedule snipes, manage multiple accounts, and track your bidding activity. Myibidder supports popular auction sites like eBay, Yahoo! Auctions, and more.
  5. EZ Sniper: EZ Sniper is a well-known sniping service that offers reliable and secure bidding. It supports various auction platforms and provides a user-friendly interface. EZ Sniper allows you to place bids on multiple auctions simultaneously and offers real-time bidding status updates.

These are just a few examples of the sniping software available in the market. Before using any sniping software, it’s important to review their features, user reviews, and pricing options to choose the one that best fits your needs.

It’s worth noting that while sniping software can be advantageous in terms of convenience and precision, it’s essential to use them responsibly and within the rules and guidelines of the auction platform. Additionally, keep in mind that using sniping software does not guarantee winning an auction, as other factors such as competing bids and auction dynamics can influence the final outcome.

In conclusion, sniping software provides a convenient way to automate the bidding process in online auctions. By using these tools, you can increase your chances of winning auctions by placing bids at the last possible moment. However, it’s important to research and choose reputable sniping software and understand the rules and policies of the auction platform you are using.