eBay Live 8 fiasco

The fiasco:

Live 8: Bob Gendolf and friends are presenting the G8 meeting in Scotland with a plan to end poverty in Africa and stop 30,000 children dying every single day. They are staging Live 8 10 concerts, 100 artists, a million spectators, 2 billion viewers to support that message;

People could win Live 8 tickets by SMS. 2 millions TXT messages were sent for the London event.

Bob Geldof condemned profiteering when winners offered those tickets for sale on eBay. eBay initially defended the listings with spokespeople from eBay?s various international subsidiaries singing a variation of “We are allowing the tickets because we live in a free market where people can make up their own minds about what they would like to buy and sell.” Actually most eBay terms and conditions list event tickets as saleable only if they have a right to transfer.

After eBay refused to pull the listings Bob Geldof called for a boycott of eBay and later called for fake listings and fake bids to sink the process. eBay gave in. Suddenly they claim to be listening to their customers.

Lastly eBay attacks customers and begins suspending users who bid on items.

The Lesson

  1. eBay was not responsive to Geldolf?s request to stop sales. When the most media savy celebrity in the world asks a favour, pay attention.
  2. Geldolf?s call to action got results and eBay was powerless to stop the damage to their business. eBay changed their tune but not their attitude, this is standard operating procedure for them.
  3. eBay punishes users for acting when eBay wouldn?t. They have to be seen to do something. It?s a shame they couldn?t admit they made a mistake and claim to learn from their mistakes.

PS I hate it when I store research material for later then don?t get around to commenting on it in a timely manner. This should have been published last week. Oh well?

Update 3 July 2005: Spelling of Bob Geldof?s name corrected. Despite knowing how to spell it my fingers typed Bob Gendolf ;)

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