Free eBay sniping, bidding & monitoring

Simplify your eBay experience!


Stable Version
May 25, 2014
JBidwatcher 2.5.6

Edge Version
January 13, 2016
JBidwatcher 2.99pre5
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This page is somewhat out of date, as eBay has reduced to 'free' their API charges. This is a GREAT move, however it doesn't necessarily resolve the problem of the number of API call equivalents JBidwatcher makes. Their new API limits programs to 1.5 million calls/day, which as the numbers below show is far too few. They also have not put the PlaceOffer API (the bidding API) out for general use; a special contract must be signed to get access. I'm working on getting that contract to sign, but until I know what it requires I can't make any promises. The developer contract stipulates that someone using the developer API will not, in addition, scrape. So if the eBay bidding API is not made available, I can't use the free developer API without losing the ability to scrape in order to place bids. Since bidding is integral to the application, this would be a non-starter, obviously.

I'm working on all angles right now, and hopefully this will be resolved, in which case this page will be for historical reference only. :)

Wish me, and all of us, luck.
— Morgan Schweers, CyberFOX!

JBidWatcher: Economics vs. the eBay API

Some users have asked why I am forced to scrape eBay's site, causing sleepless nights when eBay changes things. Why can't I use the XML API they have put together? I've been asked this many times in the past, and I've finally decided to put together a page explaining this.

This is the eBay fee table for API requests:
Annual MembershipFree$500$1,000$5,000
Free API Calls50/day30,000/monthNoneNone
Metered Monthly API UsageNot Available$2.90 per 1,000 calls$1.60 per 1,000 calls$1.25 per 1,000 calls

My current JBidwatcher instance has 171 active auctions. Let's pretend that my usage is average.

Every auction updates once every half hour. That's 48 updates a day per item.

That is 171*48 = 8208 updates a day total.

I have roughly 3,000 users currently.

That means 8208 * 3000 = 24,624,000 updates a day for all my users combined.

Times a typical month of 30 days, means (30 * 24624000 =) 738,720,000 updates a month.

Divide by 1000 (as the pricing is per thousand calls), for 738,720.

Multiply by the lowest price per thousand calls, $1.25 * 738720 == $923,400 per month.

Yes, that's right. It would cost me personally, the author of a free program, nearly a million dollars a month to use eBay's officially supported API. I hope this reasonably explains why I scrape their site, and will likely never use their XML API.

Andy (I don't know if he wants his full name shared) from The Auction Software Review adds:
Isn't there another reason? The eBay API does not allow bidding ( http://developer.ebay.com/faq/bidding ) and programs which use the API must not access eBay in any other way (that's in the license agreement PDFs - links from http://developer.ebay.com/join/pricing - 2.2(b) in the individual license ).... therefore, no sniper can use the eBay API.
He's very correct, and another level of frustration for those of us who write software to snipe and access eBay.

So my apologies in advance for when things break, and I have to correct JBidwatcher for changes that eBay makes to their site, but even at the most optimistic revenue numbers, I could never make JBidwatcher pay a million dollars a month to compensate for having a more stable API.
-- Morgan Schweers