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Researching eBay Bidders to Win an Auction

To find the best price for any item on eBay, you need to research the item to find out what similar items on eBay tend to sell for. But eBay shows you more than just the winning bid; you can gain some insight into your competition by checking out previous auctions.

When you conduct your eBay research, the best strategy is to look at the prices achieved in previous sales. Do a search for completed auctions. Then check an auction’s bid history by clicking the Bid History link on the auction item page (the link appears next to the number of bids). You’ll be presented with a screen like the one shown here. This will at least give you an idea of how many people are duking it out for the item, if not their actual IDs.

An item’s bidding history.
An item’s bidding history.

Pay attention to the times when bidders are placing their bids, and you may find that the people bidding in the auction are creatures of habit — making their bids about once a day and at a particular time of day. They may be logging on before work, during lunch, or after work. Whatever their schedules, you have great info at your disposal in the event that a bidding war breaks out: Just bid after your competition traditionally logs out, and you increase your odds of winning the auction.

Early in an auction, there may not be much of a bidding history for an item, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still check out the dates and times a bidder places bids. You can also tell whether a bidder practices sniping if his or her bid is in the last few seconds of the auction. You may have a fight on your hands if the bidder uses sniping.

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