eBay.com have announced today that they are to drop the Bid Assistant tool as of 15th September. Introduced in May last year, Bid Assistant allowed buyers to specify a group of items of which they wanted to buy one: the system would then bid for them on each in turn, moving on to the next in the group if they failed to win the preceding one.
eBay’s announcement says that the feature had very little use, and sadly I think this was predictable: for buyers who are savvy enough to use such tools, there are plenty of third-party offerings with better features. Bid Assistant never offered the ability to “snipe”, or bid at the last minute so no rival bidder had the chance to go higher. Perhaps it’s understandable that eBay couldn’t offer this: the whole point of sniping, after all, is to keep auction prices as low as possible. But without this essential feature for buyers, Bid Assistant was never going to take off.