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Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Will Invite For Food

I'm back to selling Gmail invitations on eBay. (Those of you who are following along know that I was the very first person in the whole wide world to sell an invitation to Gmail on eBay. Big flippin' deal, right?) Recently Gmail gave current users the ability to invite three new members, as they slowly continue to ramp up the service. So, do I send invitations to my friends? Nah, I sell the invites on eBay. I have a reputation to uphold.

This morning I posted an invite for sale on eBay, with a "Buy It Now" price of $15. It sold in five minutes. I put up a second auction, with a "Buy It Now" price of $17.50. It sold within the hour. As with the very first Gmail auction, I seem to underprice the goods.

I had to leave the house for a couple of hours after I posted the second auction. (My 11-year-old daughter won honorable mention in a prestigous local writing award, thanks for asking.) When I returned, there was an email from a potential buyer in Paris, asking me to change the terms of the auction. It seems that when the seller uses the "Immediate Payment Required" option on a Buy It Now auction, that auction becomes limited to the USA. So Pierre asked me to change the terms of my auction so that he could bid.

I replied, and offered Pierre a deal. If he sends me $30 directly via PayPal, I'll send him my third invitation, and not list it on eBay at all. I told him I won't list the auction until 9 a.m. Thursday morning, Pacific Time. Given the time difference between the US West Coast and Paris, that should give anxious Pierre plenty of time to respond to my offer, if he chooses to trust me -- and if he's willing to shell out $30 for a Gmail account.

The average selling price seems to be floating around $25 right now, so I don't think asking $30 for a special deal like this is out of line.

When looking at the state of the Gmail invite market this morning, I noticed that quite a few people are selling invitations to Orkut, a social network website owned by Google. It seems that Orkut members also have Gmail invites to share. Buying one's way into a social network seems to be defeating the purpose of the website...

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