Recently I did a search on eBay for IPhone just to see what I would get. I should have remembered all of the crazy auctions revolving around the release of the latest gaming consoles. Just like before it appears that people are successfully selling domain names and email addresses for sometimes hundreds of dollars, this time touting the IPhone name and various combinations of it with other words like store, direct, center, buy, get, sell, etc. First of all, the sale of email addresses from Google, Yahoo, and I’m sure any email service is against the terms of service agreement and therefore against the TOS of eBay. Somehow this activity is slipping under the radar of the giants all the while confusing people like myself. Digg users always display a large variety of opinion so I like to get an idea of what people are thinking there. Check out this Digg post describing one of the sales and the user comments below, one of the commentators claims to be the auctioneer and states that the person has sent money via PayPal. Another comment points out that all of the bidders had 0 feed back in reply to a comment that the winner was a new eBay account with no feedback. I have noticed that for all of the auctions like this I’ve looked at, one bidder at the most has any positive feedback (sometimes they have negative) and at the most I’ve seen a feedback rating of 7.
My belief like a few of the Digg commentators is that the creators of these auctions and most if not all of the bidders on these items are somehow related. Looking at the bidding history and feedback of those bidders does lend credibility to this theory, but another theory that the people buying these email addresses are spammers would also explain the new accounts and little feedback on them (a spammer probably wouldn’t want to buy these addresses under their usual eBay account). It shouldn’t be left out that every successful auction like this that I’ve seen had a photo of the IPhone as the product image and elsewhere on the auction page. The idea of making hundreds of dollars from an investment of little to nothing is salivating, but what I want to know is why these email addresses and domain names are actually selling. It must be either that future IPhone retailers want these addresses without having to find them themselves, spammers are looking for attractive emails to snare victims, or these auctioneers are setting up multiple accounts to drive prices up in hopes of tricking unsuspecting users looking for actual IPhones.
I guess the question now is how do we find out what is really happening on these auctions. I’m going to give you some references to look at, various auctions on eBay and other articles about this story, and you tell me what you think. Leave your comments here on this post, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call/IM me on Skype @ WilliaMonaghan. I’m going to send an email to eBay, PayPal, Google, Yahoo, and Hotmail to ask them the same answer. Hopefully I’ll have an answer for you soon.
- Digital Journal
- iPhone_exclusing@yahoo.com currently at about $35
- email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org for $451!
- Bid history on ended auction (must have eBay account and be logged in) for iPhone.Authorized.Seller@gmail.com
Recently Google opened doors to GMail for the public, previously the service was available only through invitation by another user or by giving a cellular phone number with text messaging. Now anyone can benefit from the many services that Google has to offer, having a GMail account gets you into nearly every Google web service.
Fluorescent light bulbs use one third of the power of traditional lighting. According to EPA every American swapping out one standard bulb with a CFL bulb would save $8 billion in energy and prevent burning of 30 billion pounds of coal in about the lifetime of a bulb. This information and more at 18seconds.org.
A medical journal published last Friday states that circumcision greatly reduces a man’s chance of getting HIV during intercourse. The reduction can be up to 60 percent says a recent study.
From Digg, ‘Classic Texts in Computer Science’ actually contains a very nice list of freely available articles on the internet rather than a list of text-books. The list includes works from authors including but not limited to; Donald Knuth, C. A. R. Hoare, Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page, and John McCarthy.
A video on YouTube I watched focused on some of the hidden features not mentioned or elaborated on during Steve Jobs’ keynote. Interesting ways of contact navigation, music ring tones through iTunes, and Google Maps traffic view were among the topics. My interest lies in the ability of the iPhone to act as a truly integrated music and phone device as well as it’s business functionality. I personally need a phone with service allowing me to make and receive calls to and from more than just two people. I would like to have the access to at least five lines in the phone with the ability to easily switch between callers, join lines, hold lines, etc. I would also like to see features like customizable hold music and the ability to transfer a caller to any number at any time. Will the iPhone be able to play any song from your library as a ring-tone? I doubt it. Why you ask? First of all a full song isn’t a good ring tone choice, most songs don’t start out the way a ring tone should start, not to mention that any time that song starts on the radio confusion can set in (this actually is somewhat of a problem with any song as a ring tone). Second of all iTunes can’t offer an edited version of the same song without licensing rights from the copyright owner which is going to cost them. This is why I believe Apple will start selling tones in iTunes. Maybe they’ll call em’ ringtunes (don’t even think about it Apple it’s mine!)