Final Bid 2 review
Regular eBay buyers will be familiar with the practice of sniping. This is where rather than placing your maximum bid early on and letting eBay’s proxy bidding system increase your real bid incrementally, you instead wait until the closing seconds of the auction before jumping in with your first bid. This exploits the knowledge that few eBay users genuinely enter their maximum bid, and will bid a little more if it looks like the item’s about to be bought by another user. Final Bid is designed to automate this process by placing snipe bids on your behalf.
It looks polished and is easy to use; simply navigate to the item you want to bid on using the embedded browser, then click the Add item button in the toolbar. It prompts you to enter your maximum bid and promises to take care of the rest, waiting to bid until a user-definable number of seconds before the auction’s end.
But there’s a flaw: the bid request is sent from your PC, rather from an offsite computer. While Final Bid can initiate an Internet connection if you’re using dial-up, this means that your computer must be switched on when the auction is due to end, and you’re dependent both on an Internet connection not clogged with traffic and on your PC not hanging at the wrong moment. Even worse, it doesn’t even work out of the box. On our test system, Final Bid realised that the auction was about to end but no bids were actually placed. Applying the latest update fixed this, but, along with some spelling errors on the interface, it points to shoddy programming.
HammerSnipe from www.hammertap.com is a far more attractive option, partly because it’s free, but mostly because it doesn’t rely on your computer being on and connected. It’s a web-based service, but a free desktop client also exists.
Final Bid does try harder in some areas; it provides the ability to bookmark favourite categories, and offers a group-bidding feature with which you enter a bid on several similar items, cancelling the others when you’ve won one. While sniping is grudgingly accepted on eBay, withdrawing bids is considered bad practice, and records of how many you’ve retracted are kept on your feedback page. So Final Bid won’t win you any friends, and throughout testing it didn’t win us any auctions either. If you must use a sniping tool, go with HammerSnipe.