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For Seniors: How to Outbid the Competition at the Last Minute in an eBay Auction

Sniping is the fine art of outbidding your competition in the very last seconds of the eBay auction — without leaving them enough time to place a defensive bid. If you’re going to snipe, assume that the current high bidder has a very high-dollar proxy bid in the works.

In 1999, sniping was a fairly new idea. Now everyone knows about sniping, and it’s pretty much an accepted bidding method. Some bidders, however, are upset when they lose to a sniper, but the fact is, the high bidder wins in any auction, whether you’re sniping or using the automatic bid system.

Here are things to keep in mind when you get ready to place your snipe bid:

  • Know how high you’re willing to go. If you know you’re facing a lot of competition, figure out your highest bid to the penny. You should have already researched the item and figured out its value.

    Raise your bid only to the level where you’re sure you’re getting a good return on your investment; don’t go overboard. Certainly, if the item has some emotional value and you just have to have it, bid as high as you want. But remember, you’ll have to pay the piper later. You win it, you own it!

  • Know how fast (or slow) your Internet connection is. Before you start sniping, figure out how long it takes to get your bid confirmed on eBay. Test it a few times until you know how many seconds you have to spare when placing a bid.

If your Internet connection is slow, make your bid within the final two minutes before the auction ends. Adjust the amount of the bid as high as you feel comfortable so that you can beat out the competition. If you can make the highest bid with just 20 seconds left, most likely you’ll win. With many bids coming in the final seconds, your bid might be the last one eBay records.

Don’t lose heart if you lose the auction. Remember, sniping is a game. This stuff is supposed to be fun. If you can’t afford an item, don’t get caught up in a bidding war. If you’re losing sleep, barking at your cat, or biting your nails over an item, rethink what you’re doing. If it’s taking up too much of your life or an item costs too much, be willing to walk away — or log off — and return to bid another day.

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