Secret #391: Watch Auctions Before You Bid in .NET

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Secret #391: Watch Auctions Before You Bid
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Once you find an auction you re interested in, you don t have to bid immedi ately. Instead, you can add this item to your watch list and track the status on your My eBay page and save your bidding until later in the auction. (See Secret #393 for more about last-minute bidding.) To watch an item, click the Watch This Item link at the top of the item listing page. The item will now be tracked in the Items I m Watching section of the My eBay Bidding Watching page. Go there to keep up-to-date on the auction s status.
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Secret #392: Let eBay Do Your Bidding for You
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Many users unfamiliar with online auctions think that they work like real-world auctions, where one person makes a bid, then someone else ups that bid, then the first person has to come back with another bid to stay in the running. eBay works a little differently, in that much of this auction process is automated, using a software that works like a proxy bidder. That is, you don t have to keep bidding and bidding every time someone else enters the auction; you can let eBay handle all your bidding activity for you.
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The way it works is simple: When you place a bid, you enter the maximum amount you re willing to pay which may be a lot higher than the current bid price. eBay will keep your maximum bid secret, and bid for you only the mini mum amount necessary. When another user bids, eBay will respond (as your proxy) by placing a new, higher bid for you. If the other bidder goes higher, eBay continues to respond in kind until your maximum bid level is reached. When that happens eBay drops you out of the bidding and lets you know (via e-mail) that your maximum bid has been exceeded. At that point you can call it a day or decide to enter a new maximum bid and start the process all over again. This proxy bidding process means that you don t have to stay at your computer, constantly checking on the progress of all auctions in which you re bidding. Enter the highest price you re willing to pay and log off eBay will handle the bidding for you. Of course, the whole concept takes a little getting used to. Imagine that you re bidding on an item that you think is worth $20, but which has a current bid price of $2.00. You might be tempted to enter a bid for a little over the current price $2.50, let s say. But that amount could lead to you quickly getting outbid, and then you d have to come right back and manually enter another bid, then another, then another. Better to enter a maximum bid of $20, and let eBay (automatically) place the $2.50 bid and all subsequent bids for you, as necessary. If no other bidders enter the fray, you ll only have to pay $2.50; if other bidders get involved, eBay will make sure you pay the lowest amount necessary to win the auction. So don t get caught up in a bidding frenzy. Put your best bid on the table, and let eBay manage the auction for you!
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Secret #393: Win by Sniping
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That s not to say, however, that you should get into the bidding on day one of a seven-day auction. The earlier you bid, the more likely it is that you ll be out bid. In essence, when you place an early bid on an auction, you re tipping your hand. Other bidders see your bid and feel they have to respond to stay in the game. This raises the current bid price and the more bidders, the higher the price. While this is good for the seller, it s lousy for you if the item gets bid up too high, too fast. A much better strategy is to not bid on an item right away. Wait until the very end of the auction even as late as the last ten seconds and then swoop in unexpectedly. In fact, if you bid late enough in the game, you won t leave other bidders any time to respond which leaves your last-second bid the winning bid. This strategy of last-second bidding is called sniping, and its how you can win a lot of eBay auctions without unduly driving up the bidding price early on. The key to sniping is to make just one bid in an auction and to make it as late as possible in the process. That means making your bid literally in the last seconds of an auction, and making that bid high enough to beat any other bidders (unknown to you) maximum bids. The trick to placing a successful snipe is to have your bid lined up and ready to go while you watch the clock. Synchronize your clock with eBay s official time and have your finger on the Confirm Bid button. Wait until exactly 10 seconds left on the clock, and then click the button. This gives you just enough time for your bid to be sent to and registered with eBay, but doesn t leave enough time
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