Without a doubt, online auctions are some of the hottest markets for collectors — for everything from Picasso to Pokemon. Bidding can be tricky, but well-informed auction watchers are more likely to get what they want at the right price. If you're a novice, here are a few strategies that make for savvy, successful bidding on the Web

 

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ONLINE BIDDING FOR THE NOVICE
When to hold, when to fold — and when to be bold.

 Without a doubt, online auctions are some of the hottest markets for collectors — for everything from Picasso to Pokemon. Bidding can be tricky, but well-informed auction watchers are more likely to get what they want at the right price. If you're a novice, here are a few strategies that make for savvy, successful bidding on the Web:

 Bid low and hope it's slow.
 Bid very low, very early, then step back. Chances are, your meager bid will be topped. But if bidding happens to be unusually slow, you may just walk away with a steal.

Try this when... you see an item that you'd like to have, but that you're not willing to pay a lot for.
Caption Bid early, bid late.
Jump in early with a bid, then sit back and wait. When the auction is nearing its close, bid again. By holding back, rather than incrementally raising your bid throughout the auction, you avoid bidding "against" yourself and increasing the price of the item.

Try this when... you want to play it safe and smart.
 Click auto-bid to save time and stay on top.
 Many Internet auction sites have a feature called "automatic" or "proxy" bidding. Name your starting bid, as well as the maximum amount you're willing to pay. Your opening bid will appear online, and every time someone else places a higher bid, yours will automatically be raised by the smallest increment possible to keep you on top.

 Once your maximum price is exceeded, you'll be notified via e-mail so you can decide whether to raise your price. The idea here is to save you the trouble of constantly checking in to monitor the auction action. By gradually increasing your bid in tiny increments, auto-bidding also may help you get what you want at the lowest price possible.

  Try this when... you're too busy to baby sit your bidding, or you want to avoid irrational outbidding wars.

 Be a sniper.
 It may not be nice, but online auctions aren't about the good guy coming out on top. Being sneaky can pay off big. To practice sniping, hold out on bidding until the very end of the auction. Depending on how daring you are, this could be anywhere from the final minutes to the final seconds. Then bid the maximum price you'd pay for the item. Reload the page over and over until the sale is closed, checking to see if anyone has had time to outbid you.

 If you're lucky, the auction will end before anyone has a chance to top your price, and you'll come out the winner. You can't be too confident with sniping, though, because you may be up against a bidder whose proxy is set higher than your last minute bid. Also, some sites have built-in sniper defense, which automatically extends the sale if a bid is placed in the last few minutes.

  Try this when... you're willing to bid high and take a risk.

 



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