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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 1463 - January 30, 2007 - ISSN 1539-5065    2 of 3

eBay Bans Virtual Items, Except for Second Life

By Ina Steiner
January 30, 2007

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eBay has banned the listing of virtual game items, citing concerns over the legal complexity around their sale. eBay spokesperson Hani Durzy compared it to alcohol and tobacco - eBay bans the sale of those products on its site due to complex issues surrounding their sale on the Internet.

Screenshot from Second Life

Slashdot first confirmed the policy on Friday (http://games.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/01/26/2026257). Cnet followed with an article on Monday stating that eBay was making an exception for Second Life (http://news.com.com/2061-10797_3-6154277.html).

When asked if other virtual worlds would also be exempted from the ban on virtual items, eBay spokesperson Hani Durzy said Second Life is the only one he would get specific about. He said eBay is familiar with Linden Lab, Second Life's developer, as it is a member of the PayPal Developers Network. "At this point, there is still some question, but we don't necessarily think Second Life is a game."

So if sellers want to sell items from other virtual worlds on eBay? Durzy told AuctionBytes, "I think they should take a look at the policy. If it's against the policy, we'll let them know. We don't tend to suspend people right away" for first-time violations, and view such notification as educational.

eBay's founder Pierre Omidyar is an investor in Second Life. When asked, Durzy said Omidyar had nothing to do with eBay's decision to exempt Second Life from the ban. Omidyar is Chairman of the Board and is not involved in the day-to-day operations at eBay; the decision was made at a policy team level, Durzy said.

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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