>Sniper bots combined with friends bumping up prices on auctions means that a typical auction is a waste of money
This doesn't make sense, really. You enter the price you're willing to pay in an auction; what everyone else bids is irrelevant to you.
If you are getting outbid, it's because someone is willing to spend more money on the item, bot or not. Don't bid low trying to get a deal. Bid what you are willing to pay, and it works every time. It's a very efficient system.