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Thursday, June 30, 2005 Bought by eBay

Online auctioneer eBay Inc. on Thursday said its classifieds unit Kijiji has acquired a German classifieds Web site called for an unreported amount.

Started up by Klaus Gapp in 2002, Opusforum offers classifieds service in 55 cities mostly in Germany. According to comScore Media Metrix, the site attracted more than 1 million unique visitors in May.

Ebay said the acquisition allows it to expand its position in Germany. The deal is the latest in a string of acquisitions by the online auctioneer. Earlier this month said eBay said it would purchase shopping and consumer review site Inc. in a deal valued at about $620 million. In December, eBay purchased the privately held Santa Monica, Calif.-based real estate firm for about $415 million in stock and cash.

Last year, the company expanded internationally, purchasing India's most popular online shopping site,, for $50 million, and the leading Dutch classified site,, for about $290 million.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

U2 Sues Over Auction

U2 launched a lawsuit Tuesday against one of its former stylists, Lola Cashman, who has a range of memorabilia from her work on the band's 1987 "Joshua Tree" world tour.

In 2002 Cashman tried to sell some of the items - including a Stetson cowboy hat, sweatshirt, trousers and earrings worn by Bono during the tour - at the Christies auction house in London, but at that time U2's lawyers stopped the sale by telling the auctioneers that the goods weren't hers to sell.

On Tuesday one of U2's lawyers, Paul Sreenan, told Dublin Circuit Court judge Matthew Deery that Bono and other U2 members would testify that they had not given any of the items to Cashman, who was also accused of claiming inappropriate expenses during the 1987 tour.

Sreenan said the band hoped the judge would issue a judgment that Cashman should not continue to possess or try to sell any of the materials in dispute, including about 200 photos of the 1987 tour.

None of the U2 members was in court Tuesday. The band completed a three-night concert stand Monday night in their hometown with an 80,000-seat sellout performance at the city's Croke Park stadium.

Monday, June 27, 2005

eBay ProStores

Eager to find new sources of income beyond its popular online auction format, eBay Inc. has launched a service that encourages small and medium-size sellers to build Web stores that operate independently of the e-commerce powerhouse.

eBay's new ProStores service will allow sellers to design their own fixed-price e-commerce site with a unique Web address. There are four tiers of ProStores, with monthly subscription fees ranging from $6.95 to $249.95

A basic subscription costs $6.95 per month with fees ranging from 0.5 percent to 1.5 percent of transactions and will allow users to link their custom-built site to their eBay site and use PayPal, eBay's popular online transaction service.

The move, which eBay announced at its annual shareholder meeting Thursday in San Jose, Calif., comes as revenue growth slows in the company's core auction format.

The new service comes about six months after eBay enraged many small-scale sellers with a hefty price hike. In mid-January, eBay warned sellers in a terse e-mail that the monthly subscription fee for people who operate "Basic eBay Stores" would increase from $9.95 to $15.95, and the fee for a standard listing of 10 days would double, from 20 cents to 40 cents.

Devil Rock

Someone found a rock at the beach that looks like a demon's face. Hey man, everyone else is cashing in on eBay with stupid stuff, so why not sell the devil rock on eBay? :)

Anyway, the opening bid is $2,500 to own your very own demon head.

If you want to check out the auction, click here.

PetroKaz May Put Itself Up For Auction

PetroKazakhstan, an oil producer based in Canada with assets in central Asia, is considering a sale, potentially turning itself into the latest battleground in the global competition for energy resources.

PetroKaz has a market capitalisation of $2.5bn. Investment bankers at Goldman Sachs, working for the company, were expecting to receive bids for it this week, according to people familiar with the matter.

A Chinese and an Indian oil company were the frontrunners in the auction, these people added, although they were careful not to rule out that a western energy company might also decide to put in an offer. No specific names were mentioned.

Because of soaring demand for oil, China and India have been seeking to gain control of assets by pushing their energy companies into acquisitions.

That policy was highlighted last week when state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corporation made a $20bn unsolicited bid for Unocal of the US.

CNOOC is not believed to be interested in acquiring PetroKaz.

Although PetroKaz is based in Calgary, central Canada, its assets are all in the South Turgai Basin in south-central Kazakhstan.

On its website, PetroKaz says its proved plus probable crude oil reserves have been independently assessed at 550m barrels.

PetroKaz's consideration of a sale has come as the group is facing a legal challenge from Lukoil, the Russian oil company.

This month Lukoil filed a $200m claim against PetroKaz at the International Chamber of Commerce's court of arbitration in connection with a dispute over Turgai Petroleum, a joint venture between the two companies.

The company has also been at odds with the Kazakh government over environmental regulations.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

9/11 Aircraft Wreckage

An Australian man has tried to sell wreckage from one of the airliners that crashed into the World Trade Centre on eBay for $250,000.

The seller, who gave his home city as Adelaide, claims he obtained the piece of turbine blade from a relative who worked in a nearby building in New York.
But angry relatives of a Sydney man killed in the September 11, 2001 terror attack have described the attempt to profit from the tragedy as callous and cruel.

The debris is said to be from American Airlines Flight 11, the first to crash into the twin towers.

Qantas baggage handler Alberto Dominguez was one of 92 passengers aboard the plane when it was hijacked by al-Qaeda terrorists.

Mr Dominguez's son, Diego, told The Sunday Telegraph he found it hard to believe someone could try to sell a piece of the wreckage.

"Nobody should profit from that. It's cruel to try to sell something like that," Diego Dominguez said.

"It's hard to believe. If they really have it, they should hand it over to a museum or something. That would be the right thing to do."

The seller, whose eBay identity is james4894, put the item up for sale last week.

In his description, he said the wreckage had been found on the roof of a building about 1km from the World Trade Centre.

There was not a single bidder in the 24 hours before the item was withdrawn from sale after complaints by members of the public.

Rick Law, of the 9/11 Memorial Project, which tracks the whereabouts of 9/11 aircraft debris said: "This is the most offensive and disturbing item we have seen put up for auction."

Friday, June 24, 2005

eBay To Change Some Policies

After months of complaints from its sellers, it's clear that eBay is finally paying more attention. On Thursday night, CEO Meg Whitman extended some olive branches, drawing big cheers during her keynote at the company's eBay Live! member conference in San Jose.

For one, she and Bill Cobb, president of eBay North America, announced are ways to make shipping easier for both sellers and buyers, such as eliminating a 20-cent charge per preprinted shipping label and adding the shipping cost to the results of product searches. They also announced several changes to eBay's feedback system, by which buyers and sellers rate each other. Among other things, buyers won't be able to leave so-called retaliatory negative ratings if they don't pay for an item, and sellers will be barred from doing the same thing if they don't ship the item they promised.

Whether all that mollifies sellers miffed at fee hikes last February and what they see as declining customer service remains to be seen. But sellers after the keynote said the moves are promising.

Whitman also shed some light on the recent flurry of acquisitions and investments in new selling venues. "We want to help you grow, even off the eBay marketplace," she told the crowd of thousands of sellers. "This is the beginning of an exciting new chapter for you and your businesses and, we believe, for eBay as well. eBay wants to be not only the best site but the best solution provider for sellers."

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Telegrams From Howard Hughes To Katherine Hepburn

Between flying and designing planes, producing movies and being a billionaire, Howard Hughes always seemed to make time for the ladies.

Details from one of his most high-profile affairs are now up for auction in the form of 22 telegrams he sent to Katherine Hepburn during their brief romance in the late 1930s.

The selection includes a telegram Hughes sent Hepburn on Jan. 19, 1937 - the day he set a new air record, flying from Burbank, Calif., to Newark, N.J., in seven hours, 28 minutes and 25 seconds.

The flight was over, and Hughes apparently was running behind schedule to meet Hepburn at Chicago's Ambassador Hotel before she performed in a play.

"Supposed to arrive six something in the afternoon," the Western Union telegram reads. "Probably not in time to see you before the theater so will try to contain myself until eleven thirty, love Dan."

Dan was short for Dynamite, one of several nicknames the two shared.

Buffett Lunch Auction Underway

The auction for a lunch with Warren Buffet has started, so if you want to monitor it, check it out over here.

Update... It's up to $250,000 with 5+ days left.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Hypersonic Spotlight Sound

This is an interesting little gadget for sale on eBay right now. Here's the description:

Basically, this unit projects sound like a laser pointer projects light. If I were holding the unit 150ft away from you pointing it at the ground, you'd hear silence. If I pointed it at you from that distance, you'd hear crystal clear audio as if it were coming out of your own head. It's quite incredible.

The unit itself is one of the few that will plug into a standard American 100-110v outlet, and it also has both AV/RCA and XLR inputs, a mute control, and an automatic volume adjuster to prevent clipping or painful volumes.

I have successfully tested and used this unit. Here's just a couple of it's infinate home uses:
  • Have a backyard party at 4:00am with loud music, without actually disturbing your neighbors.
  • Talk to someone quietly and clearly from far away, call your kids from down the block.
  • A speakerphone without annoyance or feedback.
  • Watch television at full volume while your spouse sleeps in silence.
The list goes on and on.

This technology is not yet commercially available, and because of the potential for abuse, I'm going to bet that it will require guidelines or a license if it ever does become available to the public.

DO NOT BID on this auction if you plan to do the following:
  • Use the unit for abruptive advertising (to traffic or people passing by your store/billboard/etc)
  • Use this unit for malicious purposes (as a weapon or to make people think they're going crazy)

Sunday, June 19, 2005

eBay Items Lead Police to Suspect in Abduction

Authorities said they used eBay, the online auction site, to locate a man suspected of abducting his daughter.

The Humboldt County Sheriff's Department tracked Eric Gotsch, 31, to Burnet County, Texas, after spotting Gotsch's various eBay offerings on the Internet, officials said. He was arrested Wednesday.

Gotsch was supposed to drop off his 3-year-old daughter at her mother's home in McKinleyville on June 2, but he failed to arrive and didn't show up for work.

Gotsch will probably be extradited to California, where he will be charged with felony child concealment, according to the Sheriff's Department.

Blog Comment Spam

Seems like there has been an influx of spam comments lately for no purpose other than people getting a link from this site. So now, not only do URLs in comments don't get link credit (as far as search engines go), but neither do people's profiles/URL that is clickable on their name.

Sorry, but it was getting too annoying. Maybe people will stop it now.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

$18,000 Bar Of Soap

Perhaps the oddest piece of work at Art Basel is a bar of soap, displayed on a square of black velvet, purportedly made from Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's fat, removed during liposuction.

Gianni Monti's work called 'Clean Hands' -- the title is a play on the name of an anti-Mafia group -- sold in less than an hour for 15,000 euros ($18,000) to a private Swiss collector, according to Monti's Galerie Nicola von Senger of Zurich.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Lunch with Warren Buffet

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett is auctioning a lunch on eBay for the third straight year.

Proceeds from the auction, which runs from June 23 to 30, will benefit the Glide Foundation, a San Francisco non-profit organization that offers programs for the poor, hungry and homeless. Glide announced plans for this year's auction today.

Last year's winner agreed to pay $202,100 to dine with the world's second-richest person, while the previous year's winner agreed to pay $250,100. This year's bidding will start at $25,000.

As in prior years, Buffett will host the winner and seven friends. The lunch will be held either in Omaha, Nebraska, where Buffett lives and works, or in New York.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Free Label Printing

eBay is doing away with the $0.20 fee for printing shipping labels. Here's the note from Bill Cobb, President of eBay North America:
eBay Live! will kick off here in San Jose in just a couple of weeks. We'll be sharing a lot of exciting news for eBay members; if you can't attend in person, I hope you'll keep an eye on this Announcement Board so you don't miss anything.

One announcement we were planning for eBay Live! will actually be ready next Friday. So we're going to launch it earlier than planned, and I wanted to share the good news as soon as possible. Keeping secrets is hard!

One of my priorities for is to make shipping less of a hassle for you. Put simply, we want to do for shipping what we did for online payments when we acquired PayPal and integrated it into the transaction flow on eBay.

Last year, we introduced the ability to save time by printing shipping labels with pre-filled address information, billed directly to your PayPal account. You've told us you love this – in fact, you've printed millions of labels so far.

To cover our processing costs, we've been charging a 20-cent fee for each USPS® First Class®, or Media Mail®, and Parcel Post® label. But starting next Friday, June 17, eBay and PayPal no longer will charge this processing fee. Many sellers on eBay stand to save hundreds – even thousands – of dollars per year with the elimination of this fee.

To learn more about purchasing and printing USPS shipping labels with postage, you can visit the eBay Shipping Center or PayPal Shipping Center.

So stay tuned for more good news. We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at eBay Live! here in San Jose the week after next.


Bill Cobb
eBay North America

Mobile eBay

For all the eBay addicts out there, Moonlight Mobile is coming out with a little Java applet for any Java enabled cell phone. This little gem will let all the eBay freaks monitor eBay auctions, make bids, etc. Basically use eBay from anywhere they are at.

I can't wait... as if people driving while talking on their cell phones aren't bad enough, but now we will have people driving and bidding on eBay auctions. :)

eBay Ireland Launches

Today, eBay has officially launched their eBay Ireland site. Previously Ireland was rolled into their United Kingdom site.

The UK site already had 200,000 Irish users registered, so that should give them a good little start. :)

Severed Alien Head

Some guy found a severed alien head while walking in the forest near his house (he lived in Oregon). What would you do if you found an alien head? You would sell it on eBay of course, don't be stupid!

Check it out here.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Shaquille O'Neal's Zimmer

Shaquille O'Neal once owned this 2000 convertible Zimmer (one of only 8 custom vehicles made by Zimmer Motorcars of the USA) which is now for sale on eBay by the current owner. The vehicle is pretty cherry and only has 2,500 miles since new.

The proceeds of this auction are going to go to Noah's Ark animal santuary, a no kill animal shelter serving the pet world since 1979 in Rockford, Illinois.

If you want to bid or just window shop, you can do so over here.

The Mad Hatter

Bid by bid, half of what may have been the largest private collection of hats anywhere was auctioned, signaling an end to the owner's dream of one day starting the National Hat Museum.

Jeffrey Fried, former co-owner of Mad Hatter's Bake Shop, amassed about 3,000 hats before dying in 2001 at the age of 51 after vascular surgery related to his diabetes. He had incorporated the National Hat Museum, but it never became a reality.

"It could happen to anybody's collection. It is sad," said John McIlwee, head of N.C. State University's theater, who knows the same fate may await his collection of fashion hats. "It's exciting to look at it, seeing it the way he saw it. Seeing it in pieces, that's not as exciting. It has a poignancy."

Kay Alexander of Durham, Fried's best friend whom he dubbed his "junior curator," inherited the collection. She had to sell most of the hats to pay the debts of Fried and the estate.

All the nonmilitary hats were sold Saturday at Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales in Hillsborough, generating almost $70,000 to be shared by Alexander and Fried's mother.

The military collection will be sold Oct. 1 at the same auction house.

On Saturday, the hat that brought the highest bid was a 1900s white leather embossed fire chiefs hat with a gold lion-shaped finial at the top. It sold for $900. There were bargains as well: a 1970s Stetson cowboy hat went for $5, a Bethlehem Steel hard hat sold for $10, and three New York City Park Ranger hats were purchased for $40.

The bulk of the collection was purchased by Chris Long, 52, and his son, Bart Long, 27, of Bristol, Va.

Asked whether they collect hats, Bart Long said, "We do now."

Chris Long has been buying collectibles since he was a child, and has filled much of a 30,000-square-foot warehouse with the purchases.

After spending thousands of dollars during five hours of bidding, Chris Long said, "I have no idea what we bought."

Friday, June 10, 2005

Jar Of Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie Air

Someone is selling a wide-mouth, one-quart Mason jar of air that was captured at the Los Angeles area movie premiere for "Mr. And Mrs. Smith," which stars Pitt and Jolie.

For the skeptical types, there are pictures on the auction page showing the jar being held up at the premiere as Jolie and Pitt both stop by to say hi to fans.

The seller says the item is up for auction to raise money for his satirical news Web site. The winner of the auction also will receive two "Mr. And Mrs. Smith" T-shirts.

The bidding is currently up to $20,500. You can check it out here.

Babe's Curse Sets Record

The Babe Ruth contract auction took place today. It sold for $996,000, a record for a sports document.

The seller, who bought it in 1993 for $99,000 was hoping to get $500,000.

Any anyone would pay a million dollars for a contact is beyond me.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Brigham Young's Will

The last will of Mormon leader Brigham Young was sold at auction Wednesday in Philadelphia for $80,500, an artifact consultant said.

The will was bought by a private collector who asked the auction house for anonymity, said Bob Lucas, the consultant who verified the document's authenticity.

He did not know if the purchaser is a member of the Mormon church and said he thought the person's interest in the will was "mostly historical."

Danica Patrick Indy 500 Wing

Part of the wing from Danica Patrick's indy car is up for sale on eBay right now. Danica has agreed to autograph the wing for the winning bidder as well.

Currently bidding is up to $5,400 with just under 5 days left on the auction.

Check it out.

First Map Of America

The first map of America, which was done over 500 years ago sold for $1,002,267 today at a Christie's auction in London. The selling price (£480,000) was just under the estimate of £500,000.

It's also the first map to portray the earth as a globe, distinguish between north and south and first map of South America as well.

A much bigger version of the map produced in 1515 and often referred to as "America's birth certificate" was bought by the U.S. Library of Congress in Washington DC for $10 million in 2003.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Yahoo Auctions Now Free

In a move that obviously is intended to cut into eBay's dominate market share for online auctions, Yahoo has eliminated the fees to sell something on their auction site. It will be "funded" strictly by advertising now.

This only applies to US auctions (Canada and Japan still have fees, as they have a larger market share than eBay in those countries).

Monday, June 06, 2005

Anti-Bush License Plate Revoked

The state of Washington issued a citizen an anti-George Bush license plate on accident, only to send a letter to the owner telling him it's use has been revoked.

So what does he do? Sell the license plate on eBay of course! :)

The opening bid is $5,000, with about a week left on the auction. If you want to check it out, click here.

Thanks to my sister for making me realize I posted this to the wrong blog. hehe Oops!

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Wired Magazine

Some uber geek has every issue of Wired Magazine, and is now selling the "complete collection" of Wired Magazine on eBay.

Currently bidding is up to $355, so if you want to check it out, click here.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Bath Ruth's Curse To Be Auctioned

This is all that remains of "The Curse:" five neatly typed pages, two bold signatures, and the scars from 86 years of torment.

The torment was free. But the original 1919 contract delivering Babe Ruth from Boston to the Bronx, forever altering baseball history and the pysches of countless Red Sox fans, is expected to draw bids of more than $500,000 when it goes on the auction block June 10.

Signed by Red Sox owner Harry Frazee and his Yankees counterpart, Jacob Ruppert, the Dec. 26, 1919, document was typed out on legal paper to record the $100,000 deal that spawned "The Curse of the Bambino."

The Sox had won the World Series one year before the sale. Once Ruth was peddled to the pinstripers, Boston wouldn't win another world championship until last year -- suffering some of the most painful defeats in sports history along the way.

In between, the Yankees won 26 world championships.

The contract, currently owned by a Rhode Island philanthropist, is the featured item in an auction heavy on Red Sox memorabilia -- including the first baseball thrown at the 1912 opening of Fenway Park.

In all, the auction features more than 350 lots with an anticipated take of more than $5 million. At least the auction won't be held in the Bronx; the sale this coming Friday is set for Sotheby's in midtown Manhattan.

Despite its age, the Ruth contract remains in excellent condition, according to Sotheby's. There is some discoloration from aging, along with a rust mark where the five-page document was held together by a paper clip.

Philanthropist Alan Shawn Feinstein said the money generated by the sale of the contract will go to the hunger relief organization America's Second Harvest, which provides food for 23 million low-income Americans each year.

The priciest Babe memorabilia ever was the massive 46-ounce Louisville Slugger used to drill the first home run in Yankee Stadium history; it brought a Ruthian price of $1.26 million, the most paid for a baseball bat.

More On eBay Acquisition Of

Stock market investors are a funny bunch... eBay decides to buy for $620M. Investors don't like it (okay, that's fine), but because of that, eBay's market cap (based on stock price) lost $2.5B. So in the short term, the acquisition of really costs eBay $3.2B.

Of course, the price will recover, but it's interesting nonetheless. Might not be a bad time to snap up some eBay stock.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

eBay Buys

Looks like eBay might be starting another round of acquisitions (or maybe this is a one-time thing). But today they announced they are buying for 1,270,256 pounds worth of $1 bills ($620M). Payable in cash.

Breast Implants For A Cartoon

This is kind of funny. A cartoon artist is raising money to buy breast implants for one of his cartoons (20% of the money will be donated to charity).

The winning bidder will get to pick Tawny Skye's new breast size, as well as use her likeness in promotions for their business (although she will not do it topless). They will also receive bunch of stuff framed up pretty nicely.

The auction has all sorts of good info about this type of procedure.

Check it out over here.