Annals of Operations Research

, Volume 168, Issue 1, pp 291-305

First online:

Designing sniping agents

  • Chuan-Hoo TanAffiliated withDepartment of Information Systems, City University of Hong Kong
  • , Hock-Hai TeoAffiliated withDepartment of Information Systems, National University of Singapore
  • , En XieAffiliated withSchool of Management, Xi’an Jiaotong University Email author 
  • , Yuan LiAffiliated withSchool of Management, Xi’an Jiaotong University

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Sniping agents are increasingly being deployed to assist bidders in acquiring items in online auctions. This paper reviews the extant auction literature and proposes an overarching sniping agent design framework that could potentially increase the commercial viability of snipping agents. For better alignment between the functions of sniping agents and the needs of human bidders, we review existing literature based on three fundamentals: (1) knowledge about human bidder behavior, (2) awareness of the product(s) desired by a bidder, and (3) an understanding of the research on bidding agents and auction design. The output of this review is the explicit consideration of iterative combinatorial auction agent design, fuzzy set representation of the bidder’s preferences and dynamic derivation of bidding strategies according to the progress of ongoing auctions.


Online auctions Sniping agent Heuristics