Jul 12 2010
It’s a Zen-like art form akin to walking on water, whispering to grasshoppers, or moving spoons with one’s mind. Some would say it’s black magic. To others, the Holy Grail of digital commerce. I am talking, of course, of the mysterious art of getting stuff on eBay by bidding at the last possible nanosecond.
We’ve all been there. Like good, law-abiding boys and girls, we submit our bid on an auction. We are mildly pleased to see our bid is live; in fact, we are mere half-minutes away from scoring say, some nice glassware or used LPs, when the gates of Hades open and viperous locusts descend upon your auction, driving up the price, and bumming you out. Even if you had the wherewithal to repel them, the item has far exceeded your price range. Oh well, maybe tomorrow.
But you now have an ally against these eBay asps! It’s goSnipe, an auction sniper site that places your bid at the last possible second so you can get what you want at the price you want.
For those not in the know, auction sniping is the process of watching a timed online auction, and placing a winning bid at the last possible moment (often seconds before the end of the auction), giving the other bidders no time to outbid the sniper. goSnipe automates this process, which is a lot less stressful than sniping manually. The life of a sniper is inherently stressful enough. At the last possible nanosecond, goSnipe executes your eBay auction bid, and once goSnipe wins the item on your behalf, it alerts you accordingly. So I took a spin.
The first thing that grabbed my attention was the search box in the middle of the screen, prompting me to enter my eBay search keyword or item number. So I tried the former, entering “record player,” and up popped a bunch of them. For each item, I saw the last bid, remaining time, number of bids, seller, end date, and category. Most importantly, for each item I could “goSnipe!” By pressing that button, I was prompted to enter my eBay user name and keyword. This, as you can imagine, made things quite easy (as opposed to registering to goSnipe from scratch), especially since goSnipe is a trusted site.
I then entered an eBay item number into the search box. In this case it was for a used copy of the Bee Gees’ “Spirits Having Flown” album. And, as certain as I’m writing you, the record popped up, where I saw all important information. Let it be known that I particularly enjoyed the layout of the search result page. The layout – see screen shot below – echoes that of eBay, however it’s far less cluttered. (Specifically, goSnipe omits the big, cluttered “Refined Search” toolbar of eBay’s). This is nice, because, goSnipe is perfectly synced with eBay, so you can do all of your item searching on the more aesthetically-pleasing goSnipe. And, it naturally makes the eBay sniping process itself seamless.
Security is something that goSnipe took great measures to provide to its users. All user logins are handled over SSL connections and eBay login information is encrypted. Many other sniping sites overlook these security concerns – goSnipe understands that protecting their users’ information is of the utmost importance.
A couple of quick navigation suggestions:
- The “features” page was very helpful, but I was also looking for an “About Page.” That said, if you’re a remotely savvy eBay-er, you’ll know immediately what this site is all about.
- On the Features page, we are told of their dashboard. I imagine it’s totally cool – would be nice to have a robust screen shot of it.
- Lastly, on the login page, I was told “Before you can begin sniping auctions you must register for your goSnipe account below.” While that is true, the idea that all I have to do to register is enter my eBay account is quite alluring. In fact, I’d advocate more copy to that extent throughout the site (e.g. “Just enter your eBay username and password and start sniping!”)
Although minor, I thought I would reach out to the goSnipe customer service and offer my suggestions. The goSnipe team was quick to respond, courteous, friendly, and thanked me for providing input they felt could enhance the user experience. A personal attribute often lost in the dot-com world we live in today. They understood that these changes, in the valuable opinion of a user, would simply accentuate goSnipe’s features and functionality.
In fact, I was wondering if there’s a catch, and from what I can tell, there wasn’t. goSnipe is presently free, and even if the company does move to monetizing the auction sniping service, the service can save you tons of money and time (which is also money) by acting as a cool, cold, calculated eBay sniper and assassin. In fact, this reminds me of an old Buddhist saying – I actually looked one up – and it goes like this: “The one who is good at shooting does not hit the center of the target.”
How, exactly, this saying applies to goSnipe, I’m still not sure. But it sure makes you think, eh?