Dear Penny Auction Captain:
It has come to my attention that while I thought I was bidding against other people, I have actually been bidding against an automated program designed to automatically place bids, up to a maximum amount. Even more frustrating than the machine’s unending patience, is the “Bid Sniper” program that has me ready to throw handfuls of my own excrement at the monitor. Apparently this sniping program is designed to ensure that users who are away have their minimum bid met, so that auto-bid can take over. Is this even legal???
Signed- Everyone who has ever been beaten by a machine.
Yes, Auto-bid machines are legal, although they are heavily regulated. An auto bidder can be one of the areas that gets a little grey in the eyes of the law, but as long as they are capped/limited they are a legal means of bidding. The BidSniper feature is, indeed, annoying, as it is an automated program that bids at the last second of the auction to ensure that the bidder’s minimum is met, so that the auto bid feature can take over.
Let me begin by saying I hate auto-bid and bidsniper. Both of these programs take away from the entertainment value of penny auctions, and if you feel the same way I would encourage that you look for sites which either disable auto-bid, or at least offer up a few auto-bid free auctions. The issue i have is an ethical one, since I like to think of Penny Auctions as a form of entertainment and competition and competing against a machine designed to win is like ice-skating uphill; lotta work for no result. Best bet is to keep looking through sites until you find a reputable one that doesn’t allow either of these programs if you want the pure competition aspect, but keep in mind that both of these devices do have their uses. Any user can, in fact, use these features, and if you are so inclined you can become one of those people everyone else hates. Use autobid wisely though, since the machine doesn’t really care how light your wallet feels after a bidding war; they are designed to enter your maximum bid, so my caution is, again, play within your limits, and don’t let machines bid for you!!