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Winning the eBay Game....eSnipe

Boot Camp feature for Thursday, September 26, 2002

Winning the eBay bidding game. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. eBay has been one of the big success stories of the Internet... .linking buyers and sellers around the world. But successfully bidding on an item you want on eBay isn't always so easy. That's where a Web site called eSnipe comes in... .

"eSnipe is a way to make bids on eBay during the last few seconds of the auction. So for example, if you're interested in a guitar that you don't want other guitar collectors to know about you give us your name and user ID once in a free sign up process and after that, it's just pasting in the auction item ID or the URL of the auction item into our bid wizard... you choose how much you want to pay... and you're off."

eSnipe CEO Tom Campbell... ..who was a user who bought the service from its creator... .using eSnipe on eBay. Campbell has turned what was a money losing... advertiser supported service... .into a profitable business... charging buyers a one percent fee on successful bids... .

"We now place over a million dollars in bids a day. On a typical day there are 12 to 15 thousand bids."

By sniping... or jumping in with a bid in the last few seconds of an auction... you don't give others a chance to outbid you... or attract attention to an item. Is it fair?

"It's a great question and I'd like you to think about the following. Suppose you just happened on the auction a few minutes or a few seconds before it was over. Would you somehow feel like it wasn't right to bid on the item at that time?"

The practice is becoming so popular that eSnipe now has a variety of competitors. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.