eBay Backs Down On Live 8 Tickets

    June 17, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

The online auctioneer had not planned to interfere with sellers of tickets to the upcoming Live 8 show in London.

Under public pressure, eBay decided to turn 180 degrees from their previous position auctions of the awareness-raising concert’s tickets.

The London show’s tickets were made available in a text-messaging lottery. Over 2 million entries were sent in by mobile users. Winners were notified by text of their good fortune.

With the show’s lineup containing blockbuster acts like U2, REM, and Coldplay, and a reunited Pink Floyd, there was serious pent-up demand for tickets beyond supply. A number of winners decided to take advantage of that by placing their tickets up for bid on eBay.

Those auctions, where bidding had reached several hundred pounds, in addition to several where fake bids of millions of pounds were bid at the behest of Live8 organizer Bob Geldof, were legal under eBay policy.

Ebay offered to donate fees from the auctions to Live8, but Mr. Geldof rejected the offer of charity outright. Later, eBay decided to pull the auctions from their site.

The decision seems to be an unfair one, despite Mr. Geldof’s protestations. According to him, the Live 8 concerts are about raising awareness of African poverty issues in advance of the upcoming G8 summit in Scotland, not fundraising.

Tickets were given away freely, and there have been no accusations of anyone obtaining a winning entry in a fraudulent way. Ebay did not have to offer a donation of fees; Mr. Geldof’s rejection comes across as a decision made of vanity.

And if the concerts are about awareness, and there are concert-goers willing to pay a price to attend, why not encourage the people who’d rather be there to attend than criticize ticketholders who put their tickets up for sale?

PS to Mr. Geldof: To say the US lineup could use a bit of work would be gross understatement.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.