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Thursday, September 29, 2005

Terrell Owens' Championship Ring

Terrell Owens' 2004 NFC Championship ring sold for $48,200 in an online auction on Thursday.

If the winner pays up, it would be the highest price ever paid for a conference ring, according to ring expert Scott Welkowsky, owner of Out of This World Memorabilia in Mission Viejo, Calif.

In fact, Welkowsky says he has sold thousands of championship rings in his 23 years of business and the most a buyer has paid for a ring was $35,000 for a Super Bowl XXIX ring given to a San Francisco 49ers starter. In February, former Patriots backup cornerback Leonard Myers sold his Super Bowl XXXVI ring for $32,600.

"You can tell that the person buying this doesn't normally buy rings," said Welkowsky, who recently sold former Philadelphia Eagles owner Leonard Tose's 1980 NFC Championship ring for $6,500. "It's for a good cause and it's certainly a nice piece, but the diamond and gold value in this ring is worth no more than $3,000."

This is Owens' second attempt to sell the ring, with the proceeds going to victims of Hurricane Katrina. A few weeks ago, it was posted on eBay, but when bids soared to $400,000, it was decided that the auction should be pulled and bidders should be pre-approved to prevent fraudulent bidding.

"My hope is that one of you with a generous heart and hopefully a big pocketbook will see this as an opportunity to do your part to help those that have lost everything," Owens wrote on the eBay auction page.

The winner will personally receive the ring from Owens, said his publicist Kim Ethredge.

"We're happy someone found it in their heart, not only to want this treasure, but to give the money to a good cause," Ethredge said.

As a rule, conference championship rings are usually worth half as much as the value of Super Bowl ring from that same year. Conference championship rings with marquee players names on them usually sell in the $6,000 to $15,000 range, Welkowsky said.

Welkowsky said the price realized for the Owens ring could cause some players to believe their ring could also garner a similar price tag. Someone recently put up for auction a 1996 Green Bay Packers ring from Super Bowl XXXI with a minimum bid of $19,999. Welkowsky sold a 1972 Miami Dolphins "Perfect Season" Super Bowl VII ring for that price.

Owens had a contentious offseason while trying to renegotiate his contract. Despite an apparent off-the-field communication problem with Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, the two have hit it off on the field. In the first three games this season, Owens has caught 21 passes for 335 yards and has scored three touchdowns.

Voodoo Knife Holder

For all the people out there aspiring to be a crazy stabbing fool, you can now have this fancy schmancy knife holder for your kitchen.

It comes with the five knives shown as well, so you don't need to buy them separately.

Check it out over here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

eBay Motors and Google Maps

This is really a pretty slick use of the Google Map API. It lets you put in a vehicle make/model and find ones for sale on eBay based on your zip code. Just check it out...

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Schwarzenegger on eBay - for $3.6 million

Arnold Schwarzenegger has famously asserted that he cannot be bought by donors. On Tuesday, his critics begged to differ: They briefly put the governor up for sale on auction giant eBay.

The gag, one slightly tarnished Schwarzenegger, was placed up for bid by the California Nurses Association, a labor union that has been battling and belittling the Republican governor for months, at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday. By 4:19 p.m., eBay shut down the sale.

Xbox 360 Controller

First we got limited edition E3 Xbox 360 faceplates appearing on eBay, when money starved journalists felt they must sell their free Xbox 360 memorabilia. Now an actual Xbox 360 controller has been sold. The auction closed on September 24th with the winning bidder having stumped up $91 + $10 shipping for the unreleased controller. The seller claims the item to be genuine, having received it whilst attending a developers conference. The controller also comes with a USB adapter so that it can be hooked up to a PC.

Even if the seller's story of receiving the controller at a conference is true, I highly doubt Microsoft are going to be overjoyed after seeing the controller for sale over a month before the Xbox 360's launch.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Robby Gordon's Helmet

Robby Gordon's helmet is no longer available.

Online auction site eBay pulled the item on Wednesday afternoon after bids topped $10 million.

"We do pay attention when bidding gets out of control," said eBay spokesman Hani Durzy.

The helmet was worn by Gordon during Sunday's Sylvania 300 at the New Hampshire International Speedway. An angry Gordon threw the helmet at Michael Waltrip's car after the two got into an accident. Proceeds from the helmet were supposed to generate money for the Harrah's Employee Relief Fund, which is raising money for Harrah's employees who have been affected by Hurricane Katrina.

A statement on read: "It is our hope that the auction will resume in a relatively short period of time. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding in our efforts to raise money for the Harrah's Employee Relief Fund."

Durzy said that another reason the site pulled the auction down is because it violated eBay's charity listing policy. eBay requires that sellers either include a letter from the charity or that the organization is among eBay's list of charities.

"People started asking me almost immediately after the race if they could have my helmet, and rather than just giving it away, we'll use it to raise more money," Gordon told The Associated Press. "Obviously I'm still angry about getting wrecked intentionally, but at the end of the day I still have a house to go home to which is a lot more than a lot of people can say."

Gordon was fined $35,000 and stripped of 50 points for the incident. He was also placed on probation for the rest of the season. Gordon has reportedly made a $20,000 contribution to the Harrah's fund and is making a 10 percent contribution from the sale of Harrah's racing merchandise and collectibles on his Web site and from track-side sales.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Buy Meth Products On eBay

Federal and state authorities are investigating at least 10 eBay auctions, some Oregon-based, found last week that offered thousands of pills containing pseudoephedrine, the critical ingredient in methamphetamine.

Quantities offered far exceeded new state laws on sales of the chemical.

Three auctions continued to take bids Friday. Three others apparently were shut down either by their owners or by eBay.

Ken Magee, assistant special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in Oregon, said the auctions "piqued our interest tremendously."

With Oregon and other states passing laws restricting the sale of pseudoephedrine in recent months, buyers and sellers are finding new ways to obtain it.

"Crooks are becoming more savvy," said Garrison Courtney, a spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration in Washington, D.C. "They're realizing, 'Hey, here's a way to go through a keyboard anonymously, make cash and disappear.' " For at least six months, the DEA has worked with eBay and other online retailers to stop illicit sales of pseudoephedrine, Courtney said.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Pierre Omidyar Gives $25M Grant To Tufts University

The founder of eBay Inc. and his wife, both Tufts University alumni, gave the university a $25 million challenge grant to be used for undergraduate student scholarships.

Pierre Omidyar, founder and chairman of eBay, the San Jose-based online auction company, and his wife, Pam, are making the second largest gift Tufts has received in its history. Tufts is in Medford, Mass.

The gift is a challenge grant to encourage donors to contribute to a $200 million endowment Tufts is trying to raise to make it a need-blind school. A need-blind school accepts students regardless of their ability to pay the tuition and offers financial aid accordingly.

The Omidyars have founded Omidyar Network, an investment group. Pierre Omidyar, a trustee of Tufts, earned a bachelor of science in computer science from the school in 1988. Pam Omidyar, who sits on the college's advisory board, earned a degree in biology from the school in 1989.

Monday, September 12, 2005

eBay Wants Skype

eBay has agreed to buy fast-growing Internet start-up Skype for up to $4.1 billion in cash and shares, in a move to tap new sources of growth and add free Web telephone calls to its online auctions.

eBay said on Monday it planned to pay $1.3 billion in cash and $1.3 billion in stock for the online communications company. It will make a further payout of up to $1.5 billion if certain financial targets are met.

The deal will cut eBay's earnings by about a cent per share until the end of 2006 before beginning to boost eBay's profitability, Chief Financial Officer Rajiv Dutta said.

Its shares fell 1.81 percent to $37.93 in early trading on the Nasdaq exchange, after falling 4 percent last week when investors became concerned that eBay might pay too much, giving eBay a market capitalization of about $52 billion.

eBay is renowned for its Internet marketplace linking more than 150 million buyers and sellers, who currently exchange about 5 million emails per day. It hopes that offering free Skype calls within eBay will smooth the way for more deals to go through, and let the company charge merchants for calls that lead to sales.

Skype already leads the booming voice-over-Internet (VoIP) market, which is seen as a threat to traditional phone companies and is being aggressively targeted by online powerhouses such as AOL Yahoo, Google and Microsoft.

Chief Executive Meg Whitman said that Skype had a considerable head start.

"We think Skype has an enormous lead -- 150,000 new users a day, and technology that is generations ahead of where the new entrants are," she said. "And when people are using your brandname as a verb, that is incredibly powerful."

Skype expects revenues of $60 million this year and more than $200 million in 2006, but has yet to turn a profit. In two years, Skype has attracted 54 million members to its free and low-cost Internet-based voice service and is on track to roughly double in size within a year.

Luxembourg-based Skype offers a free service when users make computer-to-computer calls to other Skype users. Charges apply when Skype users make calls to, or receives calls from, regular phone numbers.

eBay said its merchants would be able to use Skype software to allow buyers with last-minute sales questions to "click to talk" to a customer service agent.

"Once we integrate communications into e-commerce, we think that Skype is going to remove considerable friction" from the buying and selling process, Dutta told Reuters by telephone.

Skype would be the biggest acquisition yet for 10-year-old eBay and analysts said the price tag looked hefty without more details about the strategic rationale.

Nearly half Skype's users live in Europe, a quarter are in Asia and an eighth are in North America, providing eBay with a large audience as it seeks to expand outside of its core North American market.

As of October 2004, Skype had raised $24 million from several private equity firms including Mangrove Capital Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Bessemer Venture Partners and Index Ventures.

The deal provides a major payout for Skype founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, who also created the controversial peer-to-peer file-trading network Kazaa.

Zennstrom and Friis, who have touted Skype as a "killer" application that could threaten entrenched players in the telecom sector, will keep their positions at the company.

Earlier this month, a local unit of a Chinese telecom company moved to block some Skype services amid reports that a broader crackdown on VoIP services was in the works.

"This is largely a rumor, and I think it's not nearly the size of the issue that was first reported," Whitman said.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Storm Water For Sale

The chance to make a quick buck from Hurricane Katrina has not escaped some, with items on eBay including a "rain-soaked newspaper" delivered on the day the storm hit the American south, jars of rainwater and a message in a bottle that supposedly led to the rescue of several families.

Among other items on sale on eBay yesterday was a scribbling that a Texan "artist" claims he drew after waking from a dream 10 days before the storm, which uncannily resembles satellite pictures of Katrina. One man, claiming to be a survivor of the catastrophe, is offering the rights to his story, starting at $12,500 (£6,800).

Various T-shirts, bumper stickers and badges are on offer, either proclaiming "I survived Hurricane Katrina" or making jokes. One reads "I went to New Orleans and all I looted was this lousy T-shirt". Another says "Disaster Relief: Get Rid of Bush".
The appearance of items on eBay aimed at ghoulish souvenir hunters has become common after disasters. Soon after the September 11 attacks, pieces of the World Trade Centre were being offered for sale. People also attempted to sell debris from the space shuttle Columbia.

The message in a bottle allegedly read "Help ... Help ... Mother-2 Children no water ... no food" and then gave an address. The seller claims to have been given the item at a reunion centre in Dallas.

A spokesman for eBay said it judged items on a case by case basis. "We have clearly defined policies on what is not allowed," he said. He would not discuss the Katrina items, but said in the case of 9/11, a newspaper from September 12 would be allowed, but pieces of debris would not.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Big Brother 6 Suitcases

Following an initial flurry of newspaper and magazine deals, those sworn enemies Lesley and Sam have been forced to put their Big Brother suitcases up for sale on eBay.

The busty Huddersfield sales co-ordinator and the scantily-clad Surrey marketing student fell out repeatedly on the show, but both will be pleased with how much the sales have raised.

Sam managing to shift her case for £3,100, while Lesley’s is up to £3,200 - and her saucy nurses outfit is also included in the deal. You can check it out here.

What will the pair splash the cash on, though? Perhaps Lesley will opt for plastic surgery in an attempt to rival Makosi and Saskia in the chest stakes, while maybe Sam will plump for a photographic portfolio to help with a possible career in lads' mags.