eBay sniping - a winning strategy?

"Sniping" is the auction bidding tactic of bidding as late as possible in order to secure an item without giving other participants the time to outbid you. It is a controversial practice, widely aknowledged to be the most effective way to win an auction with a fixed end time. There are even automated computer programs out there to do the dirty work for you. In fact as I write this another article has turned up criticising it. But maybe the only people who suffer as a result of sniping are the snipers themselves.