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Thursday, June 16, 2005

The dark side of capitalism: Selling charity items

Bob Geldof is upset that tickets for the Live 8 concert have been auctioned of through eBay. The concert was organized to highlight poverty in Africa, and the tickets are free.

More than 100 pairs of tickets, however, began appearing earlier Tuesday on the eBay auction site at high prices. Some attracted bids of up to US$1,800, prompting Geldof to call for a boycott of eBay.

He is quoted as saying that "the people who are selling these tickets on Web sites are miserable wretches who are capitalizing on people's misery."

In response, Geldorf asked bidders to pose impossibly high bids - in the range of millions of dollars. Some did follow suit, and well, eBay suspended their account under the presumption that they disrupted the orderly conduct of the side.

Whatever it is, they also took down the auction.

I am a bit split in my opinion. On the one hand, it is not the nicest gesture to auction of something that is meant to be charity. On the other side, well, couldn't it be that those sellers are just very business minded? Wouldn't it be possible as well that they donate part of their income to a charity? What about those who would really like to see the concert and took the chance to bid for the tickets? What, as well, would have happened, if eBay let the "counter-bid" happen, and those who bid for it would have been asked to pay up? Why didn't Geldof bid by himself, but in turn, asked others to bid for him in protest?

(By Asia Business Consulting)