I always use an auction sniper to automatically snipe my auctions for me. This means that if I find something I want on eBay I decide exactly what price I am prepared to pay, set the amount on my auction sniper and then sit back and let it do the work for me. You can change your maximum amount at any time. This means I don’t get caught up in a bidding war, where money suddenly loses its value and all I care about is winning. I also don’t miss out on auctions that end when I will not be at my computer.
If you find it difficult to bid on items ending at strange times or if you get carried away in bidding wars at the last moment, an auction sniper is just what you need. You set your maximum bid beforehand and your sniper will swoop in at the last moment to place a bid for you, just above the amount which was previously bid. I have never lost an auction using a sniper. I don’t have any preferences – I just register free for whatever one is top of a Google search. Bidnapper tends to be good as is Auction Sniper. If you pay you get a shorter lead time but I find the free ones work just as well. My lead time is usually about 2 seconds.
https://www.bidnapper.com – Bidnapper
http://www.justsnipe.com – JustSnipe
http://auctionsniper.com – Auction Sniper
…are good ones. I usually use Bidnapper
With some of them you can put a link to the sniper on your blog and they will give you extra free snipes for everyone who clicks on the link. I don’t do that because I don’t want to use my readers as click fodder.
If you feel guilty about using an auction sniper, remember that most of the people bidding against you are probably using one. And because they are free and easy to use, everyone has access to them.
Also, if you feel you don’t need a sniper because you already use eBay’s maximum bidding system, remember that snipes can be changed or cancelled up until a few minutes before the auction, whereas once you set your eBay maximum bid, it can not be lowered or cancelled, only increased. eBay automatic bidding kicks in every time someone else bids, to counter that bid. This means it drives prices up because people know you are interested and bid against you – eBay’s ultimate goal is more profit after all. But with sniping, your bid only goes in during the closing seconds, so no one knows you are interested in the item.