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Stunned by Early Holiday Pickup, Site Favored by eBay Bargain Hunters Announces Early Sale

eBay holiday buying may be on the upswing, according to sales trends at eSnipe, a popular "auction sniper" site used by eBay bargain hunters. eSnipe’s planned holiday sale has been rescheduled keep up. Full story at


If eBay buying patterns are any kind of economic indicator, holiday buying may be on the upswing, according to sales trends at a popular “auction sniper” site used by eBay bargain hunters. Tom Campbell, CEO of eSnipe, Inc., expected that the economy’s doldrums would be reflected in lagging holiday usage--but in fact the numbers are so encouraging that a sale has been moved ahead to keep up with momentum.

Turnaround a Welcome Surprise

For the two previous years at this time, bid activity was on a pronounced decline, so the turnaround is a welcome surprise. eSnipe is a site used to place last-minute bids on eBay, a practice known as sniping. (eSnipe is not affiliated with eBay.) Auction sniping is thought to eliminate emotional overbidding and to avoid attracting unwanted attention to desirable items, thereby keeping prices lower, so experienced eBay buyers often snipe their purchases.

“We were considering when we should start a holiday sale and thought we had more time to plan,” says Campbell. “In both 2010 and 2011 at this time we had sharp drops in bidding activity, but I think people might be a little more optimistic this year. Holiday buying has clearly already begun, so we’ve moved our sale up.”

Sizzling Uptick Triggers Unprecedented Sale

“From time to time over the years we have had brief sales on our services, but it just doesn’t happen very often,” Campbell says. eSnipe runs a tight ship with low margins and charges about 1% of the final sale value, but only if a win is confirmed. Missed snipes are free.

“We wanted to catch this tiger by the tail. To encourage folks who want to stretch their holiday budgets as far as possible, we’re discounting anywhere from 10% off at the $20 level to 25% off at the $300 level. We’ve simply never done cuts these deep before and the sale won’t last long,” says Campbell. He declined to specify exactly how long the sale will last.

High-End Purchases Continue Apace

The average bid price has increased slightly, and high-end purchases are still being made routinely. Consider that within the last two weeks:

  • The most expensive item purchased on eBay using eSnipe on October 27 was $42,200
  • By October 26 one user had made a lifetime total of 15,021 bids using eSnipe
  • In the week ending October 21 one user had made 471 bids

Service Enables Power “Snipers” to Use Unconventional Buying Techniques

An obvious question is whether eSnipe’s users are typical eBay users, or if they represent anomalous buying habits. The answer is a bit nuanced. “Our audience seems to buy in the same manner as eBay’s published sales trends,” Campbell explains. “But they take full advantage of the fact that we’re a sniping site.”

“We don’t charge unless you win. What smart buyers do is make as many bids as possible with the lowest realistic prices. So the member that placed 471 bids actually won only 40 auctions, but lost nothing because the failed snipes were free. A more typical eSnipe member wins about 40% of auctions but places many fewer bids.”

Sale offers steepest discounts in company history

The sale starts with 5% off at the $15 level, which now costs just $14, and extends to the highest pricing tier, where users can obtain $500 worth of the service for just $350, a 30% discount. It is available to all registered users on the Purchase BidPoints page at

About eSnipe, Inc

eSnipe places bids for eBay users during the last few seconds of the auction, a practice called “sniping” in online auction parlance. eSnipe launched in 1999 as one of the early eBay sniper services run on high-speed dedicated servers. eSnipe’s multiple servers placed over $350 million worth of bids on eBay in 2009 alone. eSnipe CEO and former Microsoft program manager Campbell made eSnipe one of the first pay sites on the Internet in June, 2001. To keep merchant account charges low he was forced to devise the first profitable micropayment system on the web. has been in unbroken operation since--and profitable longer than

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