Snipers, Stalkers, and Nibblers: Online Auction Business Ethics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Spirited disagreement exists among online auction participants over the ethics of sniping: delaying one's bid until the closing seconds of an online auction. Through analysis of the structural features of online auctions and by deploying Rawls's (1955) distinction between justifying an action under a practice and justifying the practice itself, I argue that: (i) the disagreement is better conceived as one over the ethics of online auction hosting (and therefore, over business ethics) than over the ethics of online auction participation; (ii) so conceived, the argument against sniping is nonetheless implausible; and (iii) the disagreement remains interesting not on the merits, but for the curious fact that it is bidders who complain about sniping.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-173
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2003
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Snipers, Stalkers, and Nibblers: Online Auction Business Ethics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this