Kent's 3 Laws of Sniping

#1 Put in a stupendously large proxy bid, the most you would pay under any circumstances.

#2 Be ready to pay as much as that proxy bid, if you win.

Corollary A: Do not be upset if someone else bids even more than your stupendously large bid.

Corollary B: Recognize that someone else may regard an item as more valuable than you do. They have the right to spend more for it than you are willing to pay.

#3 Place your large proxy bid (i.e., your snipe) at the latest possible instant prior to the auction close, but not so late that transmission times and system delays cause your bid to be entered until after the auction closes..

Corollary: Do not try to monitor the auction during the last few minutes, planning to increase your proxy bid if someone is able to outbid you.

What we are really trying to do is to keep from revealing the size of our proxy bid too early. This is one of the great strengths of using a snipe program, CJ in particular. Experience has shown that there is a large percentage of irrational bidders out there -- those that are overcome by Auction Fever. These are people who will make a bid of any size, even well exceeding the value of the item being auctioned, just so they can WIN.

If all bidders were completely rational, we could just enter our highest proxy bid at the start of the auction. Then the highest proxy would lead the auction, unless and until a new bidder chose to enter, with a still higher proxy bid. But many of the real-world bidders are far from rational. Once they know your maximum, they are willing to match it and exceed it by a small amount, just to get ahead of you.

Interesting analogy here. You see it all the time on the highway. No matter how fast you are driving, somebody back there feels he has to pass you. Not that he wants to go faster than you -- he just wants to be #1 in the traffic line; or at least, not to be behind you. People do the craziest things -- blindside you on the right, swerve in and cut you off at 95 mph with only inches between your cars and the cars ahead, then jam on their brakes and slow down right after getting in front of you.

Getting ahead, winning, is the important thing no matter what the cost.

Using CJ is a way of preventing or at least limiting that irrationality in an auction.

Kent A.

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