Win more eBay auctions

Apr 15, 2009
Updated • May 30, 2017

Pretty much everyone uses eBay, but it is often frustrating when you're suddenly outbid on a rare or unique item. There are a number of strategies one can use to maximize the amount of auctions won.

Sniping is a practice that has been used for years and years. Originally this was a manual process, where users made a bid in the closing seconds of an auction.

This naturally could prove risky, as INTERNET connections can fail and bids can't go through.

Automated services also exist which are often more reliable but can prove insecure and often charge a small fee. A few years back, I used Hammersnipe which offers free sniping and I didn't have a bad experience, although neither I or gHacks are providing a recommendation as I suggest doing a lot of research in any sniping service before you use them. This is seen as controversial, though.

Win more eBay auctions

ebay plus

One of my favorite tactics is to bid completely random amounts. Instead of 14.00GBP, I bid 14.01GBP. This is because that way, if someone had bid 14.00GBP, my bid would be counted as the maximum bid instead of theirs, event though it is only a penny higher. As many eBayer users use this tactic, it may help to use more random numbers than 0.01GBP, such as 0.44GBP.

Incremental bidding, where you bid up 1GBP or a similar amount every time you're outbid is pretty useless. You're much better off making your maximum bid the most you're willing to pay; eBay will automatically outbid anyone who makes a smaller bid. eBay will only outbid them by the minimum increment, so you won't end up out of pocket

On another note, it is really worth using eBay's best offer system. I have used this to purchase cheap mass produced foreign electronics sold in massive quantities on eBay. I managed to save 0.50GBP through making an offer on a piece of hardware which had a buy it now price of 10GBP. Not much, but a difference nonetheless. Whilst I have given this advice with sterling, one can obviously do the same in any currency.

To sum it up:

  1. When you bid on eBay, use random amounts such as $14.15 or €122.29 instead of $14 or €122. This only works if the increment is high enough (you cannot outbid a user who bid $14 by bidding $14.01, as the next increment that you are allowed to bid is higher than $0.01).
  2. If a buy it now price supports best offer, make use of it to save some money.
  3. Don't bid too early. If you bid early, it may catch the interest of other users on eBay more, than an auction with no bids.
  4. Search eBay for the product you are interested in before you make a bid. This is important, as it may be offered by someone else for a cheaper price.
  5. Snipping tools may help you win auctions, but you need to research them because you may hand over your eBay user account data to a third-party.

Update: Hammersnipe is no longer available. You can alternatively try the free eBay Auction Sniper or JBidWatcher software which may be limited but is still functioning properly.

Win more eBay auctions
Article Name
Win more eBay auctions
Joe provides you with tips on winning more eBay auctions. Tips include snipping, but also random bidding, buy it now tricks, and more.
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  1. Anonymous said on April 17, 2009 at 3:47 am

    Thanks for the update, Joe. That was exactly what I was asking for.

  2. Joe Anderson said on April 16, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Anonymous, they aren’t generally high value things. Generally cables or headphones or accessories.

  3. Anonymous said on April 15, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    For safety reasons, I found a way to keep an eye out for eBay scams by using a website called gumshoo. It checks feedback, suspicious 1-day listings, etc. Using it is as easy as clicking on a specific gumshoo bookmark(not the one shown) while you are on the eBay item page.

    Martin, can you say which reliable eBay users have the cheap deals on foreign electronics? They sound interesting.

  4. Rico said on April 15, 2009 at 4:51 am

    i’m fond of JBidwatcher, personally. It does require Java, but i’ve never had any trouble with it.

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