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Monday, May 03, 2004

What’s an Invitation to Gmail Worth? $74.00

I took the time this morning to analyze all the successfully completed auctions on eBay for invitations to sign up for a Gmail account from Google. As detailed in previous posts to this blog, early Gmail users are taking advantage of their ability to invite two new members to sell rights to the invitations on eBay. I was the first one to post such an auction on eBay, but it didn’t take long for others to post auctions as well.

The highest price for a single invitation to Gmail as of this morning is still $262, as reported. There are now 200 closed successful auctions, for a total transaction volume of $14,800, and an average price of $74.00. The two most common closing prices are $60 and $50.

A majority of the auctions are “Buy It Now” postings, and not true auctions. As the interest in obtaining Gmail accounts has increased, most people would rather use Buy It Now than to take a chance of being outbid.

Anxious sellers closed down more than 100 Gmail invite auctions early. The posted last price for these auctions appeared at the extreme ends of the price spectrum—there were many $95 and $0.01 auctions that closed early. I assume the sellers relisted their auctions closer to market value.

My auction is still mired down in what I would consider to be the lowest rung of Gmail invite auctions: Seven total bids for a current high price of $10. If demand remains high for the next few days, I would expect my auction to close for around the current average.

At this writing there are 201 open auctions for Gmail invitations. There is also an auction for the email address hackers@gmail.com listed for $201.01. It closes today and so far has no bids.


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