I am starting to evolve a strategy to win more auctions while paying as little as possible. If you are familiar with eBay, you know that it allows you to see items up for auction, sorted by time left in the auction. Of particular interest are those items which are down to less than an hour. Those items show up in red in the list.
When I started doing eBay I was bidding days in advance and definitely within that final hour or so. Unfortunately, this is a lot like tipping your hand in a round of poker and letting the others see your cards. Better to keep your own bid quiet and let others make theirs known. Additionally, by bidding early you let the other bidders know you are there. Often there is only one other bidder. If other people are bidding, that person is more likely to stick around and manage his bids so that he stays on as the winner.
Now instead of bidding early, I wait until the last 45 seconds or so. At that point, if there hasn’t been a lot of activity, the winning bidder may have logged off or at least isn’t giving his full attention to the item he wants. When I swoop in, I bid only 50 cents or $1 more than the current bid. Often, that is enough to clinch it, because by the time the other guy figures out he has been outbid, the auction is over and too bad, so sad.
If anyone has other interesting strategies, I’d like to hear them.