Journal of Business Ethics 46 (2):163 - 173 (2003)

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.
Keywords auction  bid  categorical imperative  eBay  e-commerce  ethics  fairness  sniper  sniping
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Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/A:1025001823321
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Two Concepts of Rules.John Rawls - 1955 - Philosophical Review 64 (1):3-32.

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