How Close to Snipe

Subscribe to How Close to Snipe 20 post(s), 11 voice(s)

Avatar damas 1 post

I’d like to know if jbid’s ‘how close to snipe in seconds’ time is a function of the following:
a- each users internet connection speed and time to load page
b- number of auctions that will end at the same time.

I have a slow (overseas) connection, I’m bidding on 4 items from the same seller who has all 4 auctions end at the same time. I want to win all 4 auctions (no multi-sniping). My Time Info is:
Page Load Time: 8125
eBay Time Delta: -3550554

Is it safe to set snipe time to 7 seconds assuming JBid will calculate my time lags/network_latency & number of auctions ending at the same time (4 auctions/pages to be sniped/loaded)? Will JBid do the math, bid earlier than 7secs and somehow effectively place my bid 7 seconds (ebay time) before the auction ends? Or will it just bid exactly 7 secs before auctions end regardless of my slow connection and I could probably end up losing all 4 auctions, therefore I should be the one doing the math and increase snipe time to, say 36 secs (page load time=9secs * 4 simultaneous acutions=36secs)?

I realize it’s safer to just go for 40 secs but I’ve already lost 4 auctions from same seller to snipers pulling triggers 2-3 secs before auction ends.
Any reply within the next 20 hours would be highly appreciated :) Thanks!

Avatar Morgan Schweers Administrator 1,204 post(s)

Wow… Okay, your clock is off by an hour from eBay’s clock (when all relevant time zones are adjusted to GMT). This means JBidwatcher needs to work a lot harder to get the time right. The page load time is 8 seconds, which is a really long page load time, so yeah, you’re definitely on a slow connection. (Satellite?)

JBidwatcher tries to do the adjustment correctly. The problem is that with numbers like those, the ‘fudge factor’, or how much variability there is in the load times, is often a high percentage. So, for instance, if JBidwatcher calculates (as it has) that it takes 8 seconds to load a page, but your connection slows down so it takes 12 seconds, it’s possible that it might have problems. Worse, because your clock is so wildly wrong, it’s entirely possible for JBidwatcher to adjust the timing incorrectly. If your clock is wrong because of drift, then your clock may drift more than usual over the course of, let’s say, half an hour. This would demolish JBidwatcher’s ability to reasonably accurately predict what time the submitted bid page will reach eBay.

Some things I’d do… Sync your computer’s clock to an atomic clock service somewhere, and keep it regularly synchronized, probably with an automated NTP (Network Time Protocol) tool of some sort, and make sure you have the right time zone. Check the eBay Time Delta afterward, and it should be a pretty small number.

Your page load time is rough, I understand that you want to try to snipe close to the end, but understand that the last bidder isn’t the winner. It’s the highest bidder. So if you determine what the item is worth to you, set a snipe for that much, and they outbid you, it doesn’t matter when they did it, you weren’t willing to pay more.

If you’re certain you want to shrink the snipe time, I would not go below 2x your Page Load Time, just for safety’s sake.

If you can’t get the eBay Time Delta nearer to zero, though, I just wouldn’t be confident in JBidwatcher hitting the target at all.

I’m sorry I don’t have better answers. JBidwatcher DOES try to do what you’re asking, but it can’t work miracles on a bad connection with a bad local clock.

I wish you the very best of luck with your auctions!

— Morgan Schweers, CyberFOX!

Avatar Dave Howell 15 post(s)

“I’ve already lost 4 auctions from same seller to snipers pulling triggers 2-3 secs before auction ends.”

Er, hmm. There is this fundamental misunderstanding about bidding that is reflected in this comment. No, you haven’t lost auctions to people sniping tighter than you. You’ve lost auctions to people outbidding you, and they could have outbid you 24 hours before the end of the auction just as easily as 3 seconds before.

IF everybody who bid on eBay would enter a bid amount that really truly was the most money they wanted to pay for an item, then there would be absolutely no reason to snipe. However, most people can not or will not enter a ‘true’ amount. They enter a number that’s too low. Then, somebody else enters a different number, and they go back and up their bid.

Let’s say I set up to snipe an auction for $52. One minute out, the bidding is at $34. My snipe triggers 30 seconds before ending. I lose; somebody got it for $53.50. I did NOT lose this auction by $1.50; I don’t know what number the other person entered. Maybe they bid $75. I don’t know. I just know they were willing to pay more than I was. The winner might be the person who’d had the $34 bid; eBay automatically kicked their bid over mine if they entered $75. Or maybe I was winning the auction for 20 seconds, until somebody’s 10-second snipe hit eBay. Or it could have been a snipe that arrived before mine. It does not matter WHEN the other person’s bid was entered, it only matters that they were willing to pay more than I was.

Look back again at the comment I quoted: “I’ve already lost 4 auctions from same seller to snipers pulling triggers 2-3 secs before auction ends.” If damas had a super-fast connection, and his(her?) snipe fired 1 second before the auction ended, would they then win? If the other bids were entered by sniping software, then no, they would not. Auto-snipes fire a pre-determined bid amount at eBay; it doesn’t help if you get in after somebody else if their amount is higher than yours.

So why snipe? Because of the people who are NOT using auto-snipe tools and don’t have the guts to bid their maximum amount in the first place. Hand-bidding Fran wants the same Beanie Baby you do. They bid $5. You’d be willing to go as high as $20. Fran thinks she only wants to pay $10, but really she’d go to $30. So if you just bid $20, it puts your bid as the winning bid at $6. Fran panics, and enters $10. Now the winning bid is yours at $11. She bids $15; you’re winning at $16. She enters $25, and now she’s winning the auction with a bid of $21.

So instead, you set up an auto-snipe. 60 seconds before the auction closes, Fran is winning with that $5 bid. Your snipe fires; you’re winning with $6. Fran, who is hovering at her computer, panics, and enters $10. You’re still winning with $11. She bids again, but too late! The auction is over! You got the item for less than another bidder would have paid, and Fran gets to go whine to her friends about those evil snipers stealing her stuff.

You know what, Fran? It’s your own fault! If you’d just bid an honest upper limit in the first place, then you wouldn’t care about snipers.

Using JBid does NOT change this key fact. Last year, I went shopping for a replacement cell phone. There are hundreds being auctioned every hour; multi-sniping was soo fabulous. I was hoping I’d get a green or blue one; in the end, I got a boring silver one. Maybe I should have set my multi-snipes for the colors I liked a few dollars higher; after all, two or three of them sold for just over my snipe amount. That doesn’t mean I would have had them if I’d bid $2 more, and it doesn’t mean my snipe interval was too early. It means somebody put a bigger number than I did, and if I was disappointed, that means I wasn’t honest with myself and I’d bid too low.

So if you’re on a slower connection, and you’re trying to snipe multiple simultaneous auctions, then set your snipe interval out far enough to be able to hit them all. If you enter your true maximum bid, the only danger of sniping early is if somebody is hand-sniping, has not already bid more than you will, and will be able to enter a higher bid before the auction ends.

If you don’t enter your true maximum bid in the first place, then super-fast sniping probably won’t do you any good at all.

So, Morgan, I have no doubt you already knew this, but people ‘losing’ auctions because JBid can’t snipe fast enough? Not your problem. You and JBid already do a lot to ensure that all the clocks are synched and that snipes occur as fast as reasonably possible.

[This long-winded essay brought to you on behalf of all my friends who have whined to me about losing auctions to snipers, and gotten a version of this speech in return.]

Avatar zappram 290 post(s)

Very good ….. Nice that someone spent time write it out.

I’d been winning too many things I could get by without… but I bid and bid the max. highest amount I want… and be frankly honest about things… I can win anything I WANT on eBay.

It’s fun, and sometimes (a lot of times) I win the item a lot less than what I am willing to pay for at the max price, which makes winning the item much more fun, than if I really needed it. Oh well… it’s fun.

Avatar chazzmatt 1 post

I agree for the most part — but you CAN lose auctions by a few seconds. By bids that were NOT bid hours or days before, but just seconds before. If you bid with 30 – 40 seconds left, people watching the auction then have a chance to outbid you. Bidding manually with 30 seconds to go, I have been told by ebay that I was outbid and do I want to bid higher? The other bidder could have also been manual or could have been an automated sniper. Who cares? Point is, if the sniping software jumps the gun at 40 seconds that gives someone else time to respond with a (much) higher bid. One I might not care to top. On the other hand, if the sniping software hits the kill switch with like 7 seconds to go, then no MANUAL response will beat it. Yes, if someone has pre-bid a higher amount then I’m still going to lose. But sniper hitting in the final seconds gives no time for manual counter-attack.

AND this is what’s important… Let’s me win with less of my max bid. Last second sniping SAVES MONEY. I want an item. I’m willing to pay $100 but I would rather get it for $50. :) Max bid so far is $38. With 40 seconds to go I bid $100 (my max). ebay shows I bid “$40” (as my max is hidden). 30 seconds to go, someone tops that “$40” with $50. Ebay shows I bid $52 (as the autobid kicks in). 20 seconds to go, the other bidder goes to $75. Autobid shows I bid $77. 10 seconds to go, the other guy bids $90. Autobid shows I bid $92 — and I’m the winner as time runs out. but ARGHHH! I spent $92 on that stupid item when I could have had it for $50 or less if I had WAITED until the final 10 seconds, when no counter offers could be made.

That’s the art of sniping — letting the other guy think he’s winning as time runs out, then BOOM you make a max bid that allows no time for counter offers. IF he’s really bid more than you, yes you will still lose. But you make him pay for it! :_) And if he’s bid less, then that’s his mistake and you leave no time for him to recover from that mistake!

Avatar wbu 3 post(s)


My sentiments exactly!

Avatar KipNoxzema 5 post(s)

I’m new to Jbidwatcher but learned a lot from this forum. My question involves the Max Bid vs. the Snipe Bid. Taking Chazz’ example, Max Bid so far is “$38”. With 40 seconds to go, do I enter a max bid of $100, or a Snipe Bid of $100? What would be the best procedure? What is the difference between the two types of bids?
I’m itching to use the software, but want to be sure I’m using it correctly for both Max Bid and Snipe Bid. Thank you in advance for advice.

Avatar Sumflow 41 post(s)

>I want to be sure I’m using it correctly.<

Winning or losing an auction is purely a matter of bidding the higher price. Sniping is nothing more than delayed order placement. To win with a snipe you bid your maximum once, very late in the auction.

eBay always uses a proxy bidding system, in which you specify your maximum bid value. It is very rare that you will actually have to pay your proxy bids highest price. You will usually either win the item for considerably less money than you planed, or else will lose the auction to a higher bidder.

Decide what the absolute most that you are willing to pay, and bid it, ONCE!

Since tie bids are possible and the earliest bidder wins, it usually pays to bid odd penny amounts on any auction. Further, many items will have buyer resistance thresholds. Prices above which others are reluctant to go. Typical “ain’t gonna go there” thresholds are $20, $60, and ninety. Thus, a bid of $103.27 is much more likely to win than one of $98.24.

Taking one shot, making one bid, embodies the basic sniper tactic and philosophy, of efficiency and stealth.

Successful snipers take their time in analyzing and sniping individual items in a methodical fashion with a relatively low risk of putting the price up on themselves. You should know the value of the item, and bid a bit more one time.

Avatar Sumflow 41 post(s)

1. As long as you have the highest bid it does not matter when you place it, you win.

2. Anyone with a higher bid then you will win, no matter when they place it, you lose.

3. If two bids are the same price the first person to place it wins.

Avatar KipNoxzema 5 post(s)

Thanks, Sum. You’ve been very helpful and I appreciate those tips, too. I’ll add a nice sniping tip, too. If you’re bidding with US Dollars but the item is using UK pounds, you still might have a US bidder bidding against you. Find out a “round dollar” threshold a bidder might not want to go over, and convert those pounds into dollars beforehand. For example, if you feel the item has a high-end limit of $15.00 in US dollars, that’s 9.37 pounds (at the time I’m writing this). Go a little more than that to thwart the US bidders. 9.40 pounds would equal $15.05. (Google “convert 15.05 us dollars to pounds”).

Avatar Dodgy Geezer 107 post(s)

There is an interesting (but incorrect) assumption that the aim of sniping is to bid at the last possible moment. It isn’t. Trying to do that can lose you the bid in a closely matched auction. This is because ebay requires a specific increase over the last bid.

For example, imagine an item currently displaying at 24 (pounds, dollars, it makes no difference). And two people want it. They are seasoned bidders, and estimate that it has a bid on of around 30. So Alice prepares a snipe for 31.63, while Bob decides to go for 32.18.

Now Bob might be expected to win, and he would in a ‘sealed-bid’ auction. But if he snipes at 5 seconds before closing, while Alice snipes at 8 seconds before, he will lose. What will happen is:

item price – 24 (max bid is actually 30.50)
Alice bid – 31.63
item price goes to Alice at 31.50
Bob bid – 32.18
Bob bid rejected – needed to be 32.50 or more.
Alice wins.

What you need to do is bid your maximum price just after the last time when somebody could see your bid and raise it. I have had people hovering over item, and reckon that the fastest someone can check bids and input another bid is about 7 seconds. So I go for that as a delay.

I could go for 5 seconds, but then I’m just laying myself open to being ‘sniped’ beforehand…

Avatar zappram 290 post(s)

Highest bid ALWAYS win no matter snipe 1 second or 100 seconds before the end of the auction… Unless others are willing to pay higher than your bid.


Avatar Dodgy Geezer 107 post(s)

“..Highest bid ALWAYS win no matter snipe 1 second or 100 seconds before the end of the auction… "

NO. Your bid has to be higher than the current price by a set margin. If it is just a small bit higher it will be rejected. See the example above.

That shows an instance where the higher bidder would lose, and where, if he had made the exact same bid four seconds earlier, he would have won.

Avatar Sumflow 41 post(s)

We need a little refinement here:

1. As long as you have the accepted maximum bid it does not matter when you place it, you win.

2. If two bids are the same price, the first one placed wins.

Avatar Dodgy Geezer 107 post(s)

“…As long as you have the accepted maximum bid it does not matter when you place it, you win…”

That seems so obvious I would hesitate to state it!

But the point I was trying to make still stands. Sniping is NOT about trying to bid at the last possible second. It is about trying to bid at the EARLIEST possible moment when a return bid cannot be made. This is because your early bid will trump a later one of the same value, or a higher value, if the later one does not reach the new accepted maximum bit that you have set.

So it’s actually counter-productive to set your snipe to 2 or 3 seconds. It doesn’t win you any more, and in close bidding circumstances it might lose you the purchase, even if you have an equal or slightly higher bid….

Avatar Sumflow 41 post(s)

That is true for real snipping to. I would imagine that you would want the first clear shot.

Avatar Dodgy Geezer 107 post(s)

As opposed to waiting until just before the end of the war…? :)

Avatar aande050 2 post(s)

Will this program bid your maximum every time. Or will it bid just enough to beat the current bidder. Alice bid 32.00 John has his snipe set at a max of 50.00. Does the program fire off the 50.00 or will it fire off just enough to win?

Avatar Philip 34 post(s)

It will bid (using your example) 50.00. eBay will then take care of the bidding. I think you may need to read up on how eBay works before you even think of using sniping tools like JBidWatcher.

Avatar Sumflow 41 post(s)

I just won a bid where the two first losers tied for second place at $99.00. Can you believe they would not bid an even hundred?

Many items will have buyer resistance thresholds. Prices above which others are reluctant to go. Typical “ain’t gonna go there” thresholds are $20, $50, and $100.00. So, a bid of $103.27 is much more likely to win than one of $98.24. But these bidders must have been nuts to think that they could get what they knew was at least a hundred dollar item for $99.00. Since tie bids are possible and the earliest bidder wins, it usually pays to also bid odd penny amounts on any auction.

It is the first highest bid that wins, but don’t get caught below a round number level. A winners maximum bid must exceed the current auction price by a full increment, but it only needs to beat the first losers highest bid by one cent to win.

Cupid:> This is why I recommend people schedule their snipes only early enough to prevent anyone else reacting to them and not as late as possible.

If you know what an item is worth that is probably what the first loser will bid. So it does not make any difference in what you will pay if you tack a little more on for future inflation. You will only pay one increment above what the first loser thinks it is worth, but you need to bid first to win ties!