Friday, November 03, 2006

Ebay Auctions

I know for sure that this blog has never discussed Ebay auctions, and since we are supposed to talk about everything, I feel obligated to bring up this topic of conversation.

The most amazing thing our family has recently discovered, is the auctioning of virtual items.


I know. This is difficult to swallow. However, there are on-line games where one assumes an identity, and then plays along with things. For example, there is one called Virtual Magic Kingdom, done by the Disney people. In this game, the players, mostly children, travel around a virtual Magic Kingdom, playing games, acquiring points to which they can "purchase" costume items and various pieces of furniture with which to decorate their virtual rooms, like chairs, tables, lamps, etc.

These items, it must be emphasized, are ALL VIRTUAL. It is a GAME.

The other day, we discovered that people were actually auctioning virtual items from this game. Why? Because certain items become rare when the game no longer offers them. For example, there was a movie called Lilo and Stitch (not worth the time to view, in my opinion) and there is a hat for the virtual characters that looks like Mickey Mouse ears, but it is blue and looks like the Stitch character. This Stitch Hat is no longer available in the game.

Now here comes the part that's hard to believe.

Someone paid $195 dollars for the Stitch Hat. The VIRTUAL Stitch Hat. A bunch of pixels.

I think I could think about this for a long time, and never figure it out. All I can think is that someone with a lot of money and no real life going on, is so keen to get this rare item in the game, that they either bought the hat, or got their parents to buy the hat.

"Daddy, I want a Stitch Hat." (Spoiled Child to Father)

"OK, dear, I'll get you one." (Wealthy Father of Spoiled Child)
Some other scenarios came to mind today at breakfast.

"Daddy, I want a Stitch Hat." (Spoiled Child to Software Hacker Father)

"OK, dear, I'll get one of my people to hack into Disney and get one for you." (Hacker Dad)
"Daddy, I want a Stitch Hat." (Daughter of Bill Gates)

"OK, dear, I'll buy Disney." (Mr. Gates)


  1. Be careful. I have a friend who was a big fan of eBay since the very beginning. First you have to build up reputation as being trustworthy. He did. He is very knowledgeable about computers and buying & selling things. It’s almost a hobby for him and he usually gets a pretty good deal, either selling or buying. But, after being taken in by some scams which eBay ignored, or could not prevent, he simply gave up and closed his account.

    Not sure about the details, but the scamsters (with no eBay history) would buy his item by bidding at the very last moment, making sure they get it. Then they would offer to send a portion of money, and ask that the item be delivered to somebody else (a nephew studying at some university somewhere), and promised to pay the rest later, etc. There were also some fake webpages involved, imitating PayPal or similar. The problem is that if you refuse to sell an item under these shady conditions a few times, eBay will not like it and either you loose the item if you ship it, or you are penalized by eBay for refusing to sell it to the bidder. After many emails eBay could not resolve the sitution to his satisfaction and he simply quit.

    Wild Goose

  2. Thank you for the warning.

    It's interesting how your brain makes certain connections.

    Keep reading Chesterton.



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