Honestly, we really shouldn't be surprised by this by now, but yet, here we are. Google Plus (or "+", depending on your propensity to spell things out) is Google's newest venture into the social media world, and currently, the service is on an invite-only basis. This, apparently, has ramped up the interest level, so much so, in fact, Google Plus invites are appearing on eBay.
While this is reminiscent of Gmail's explosive popularity when it debuted, the idea that people have moved beyond auctioning off invitations seems like the old school approach, but again, it's clearly happening. Another thing worth noting is the invitation only status on Google Plus is generating a great deal of interest in the service. Couple that with the fact that the early buzz is largely positive, Google's approach regarding raising interest levels is obviously working.
Now, does this mean Google Plus will be successful in its attempts to replace Facebook and become the number one social media platform of the near future? Let's not get ahead of ourselves just yet. Facebook currently has over 700 million members, many of which only recently joined (by recently, I mean in the last three or four years). Combine that with how long Facebook has been open to the public -- forget its invitation-only/college students only origins -- and you see growth is not a one-day or even one-year process. Keep in mind, Facebook opened up it's doors to people with valid email addresses in 2006. It's taken almost five years to reach the peaks they've successfully conquered.
Even if Google Plus is indeed the Facebook killer, it will take some time before Facebook can be reduced to Myspace status.
Of course, the invitation-only debut is a great way to generate the necessary buzz. If people view it as an exclusive club where invitations speak louder than snarky comments, the desire to join the service grows, especially when the buzz is coupled with positive reviews. The feeling of being left out is clearly not a good one in regards to public consumption.
These reason help explain why a digital, non-tangible invite can sell on eBay, and in some cases, for a little bit more than one might expect. Although there are two pages of invites listed on eBay's results page, we're going to concentrate on three. One has the largest bid, another has the most bidders, and the other has the highest "But It Now" total.
Regarding the one with the most bids, there are currently seven eBay members who made bids on the invite. The price as of now has been pushed up to $15.50. The highest bid total is for $27.00, but there are only two bids. Apparently, the high bidder on this auction decided they didn't want to play around and went for the jugular. Too bad the bidder didn't notice the other auctions in play, especially the one with the $21.97 "Buy It Now" listing.
Clearly, that guy wants Google Plus right now. Invitation-only settings, especially in regards to web properties and services, bring out out the impulsive side of the Internet.