Z Group are set to release a product called Onbidder, designed to help eBay users maximise their chances of winning auctions. Available from 1 October, Onbidder will cost £20 for a 12-month subscription or £25 for 24 months.

Users pick items they fancy and the program makes the bid for them. They can choose how late to leave the offer - for example, 30 seconds before the auction closes - and Onbidder will then track the auction to counter any rival bidders. This means users don’t have to be at their PC, or even awake, to gazump the opposition.

Jonty Slater, CTO of Z Group, commented: “This will be a godsend for people who would prefer to manage their eBay portfolio once a day or even once a week, instead of every five minutes.”

Users can set a maximum amount for a particular item, but Onbidder will bid no more than is necessary to win the auction. Even if items are priced in a different currency, the program converts the price into pounds sterling to prevent confusion. Currently eBay has a bidding proxy of its own, but Z Group claims its product can outsmart this.

Onbidder will work with both broadband and dial-up connections, although users have to leave their PCs switched on and logged in for it to work. The program will automatically initiate dial-up connections, however, so users’ phone lines will suffer minimum disruption.

Pitched at novices, Onbidder is backed by live online support and will mask users’ identities.