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Thursday, 16 Jun 2005

Bob Geldof is cross that some winners of tickets to the live8 concert decided to try to sell them on

The BBC reported:-
Geldof had launched an attack on the site and the sellers, calling it "sick profiteering".

And he even got government ministers and MPs rallying round, decrying eBay's willingness to allow these auctions on their site.

Now some people have claimed that this behaviour was ripping off the charity. Nonsense. The charity had received its piece of the revenue when they took their slice of each �2 SMS text message. Apparently eBay was even prepared to donate back their commissions on the ticket sales, thus providing potentially even more revenue for the event. I admit that this sounds very lame and indeed eBay were ethically digging themslves into an even deeper hole here. My point is that the charity was not losing out.

Geldof is probably right. It is profiteering, and it is a bit sick. His intention was that well-meaning competition winners should be the ones attending the concert, not those who had been prepared to pay a large amount of money. Apart from the two quid SMS charge, the tickets were meant to be free, so trading them seems to go against the sprit of the thing.

So what did he do? In a spirit of Moral People Power, he called upon ordinary eBay users to scupper the auctions with ridiculously high bids. And they did. Hurrah to them!

So what did eBay do? They suspended (indefinitely, it seems) the accounts of the naughty but well-meaning scupperers, because they were wrong to sabotage perfectly legal and legitimate auctions. Oh, and then eBay banned the auctions too because they felt they weren't right after all.

It seems to me to be really sad and unfair that the losers are the ones who followed the leadership of Bob Geldof, a Knight of the Realm. (I bet he did not lose his ebay account.) They broke the letter of the eBay Law, sure. They were perhaps a little foolish or impetuous to get stuck in like that. But they meant well.

Even though eBay changed its position on the appropriateness of the Live8 ticket auctions, they have remained thus far steadfast to their position on the eBay account suspensions. So under moral pressure, no more poignantly placed than in the high-bidding sabotage bids, they are prepared to bend their own rules. But for the people at the axel of the moral argument there is no leniency.

EBay UK will capitulate for the sake of public pressure but not for the sake of the moral argument. Do I hear cash tills at the altar of eBay? Do I need to offer the opinion that this is pathetic?

Here's the link to the squirmy, Blair-like back-down announcement from eBay:-

And here's the full dirt at the BBC:-

Another link that may be interesting:-

Apparently the Live8 concert tickets are marked up as "not transferrable". This means that you may not transfer them, as part of the terms of accepting them. I understand that selling a ticket really does include transferring it. Therefore you are not allowed to sell it. And I believe it is a legal "not allowed to" here.

So if it is indeed a breach of the terms of the receipt of the tickets to re-sell them, how then does eBay justify its claim that it is not illegal to do so? Maybe I am being dumb but when propositional logic and the English language fail to agree with eBay, who is mistaken?

Friday, 3 Jun 2005

I have been researching camcorders on the internet and I recently sent an inquiry through the "Contact Us" form at an online electrical retailer, namely

I sent this through over the Bank Holiday weekend break, on the Monday just passed. Even though the main page advertised that the shop was open for business, I did not expect a reply straight away. Yesterday (Thursday) I decided that I was now officially cross not to have received a reply and told them so, again using the same contact form on their website. I got a reply this morning, which included this:-

I am sorry but we appear not to of received any previous email from you. We
do try to answer every mail from customers and potential customers.

Argh, now they've put me in a spot. I cannot continue to be upset about the delay - mistakes happen and they've apologised - but now I have to decide if I am more enraged by the non-clause in the first sentence?

"We appear not to of received any previous email from you." What?

Thank you, Shirley Williams; thank you, Tony Bliar.

It's an outrage! People these days don't know their verbs from their nouns. I should coco. Beacon