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Mon Oct 8 2012 20:07:50

Big Bird on eBay: Capitalizing on News Events

By: Julia Wilkinson

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There seemed to be a clear winner after last Wednesday's presidential election debate. I'm talking about, of course, anyone who sells Big-Bird related items on eBay.

As Mitt Romney's random comment about the large, beloved muppet swept the Twitterverse and the rest of the "Internets," the yellow-feathered wonder popped up on Twitter, Saturday Night Live, and where else? EBay.

Several giant statues of Big Bird sold for, on the high end, between $400 and $899, and several Halloween costumes, both male and female, flew off the virtual shelf for $149, $97, and $82, in the priciest cases. (The lady who goes out in that getup clearly is not too concerned with being sexy on that dress-up night).

This made me think of other times eBayers turned on a dime to capitalize on news events or pop culture trends. There were the myriad of Michael Jackson items after his death. And Terapeak reported on its blog that all things "Twilight" related were selling like hotcakes.

But when is it not right to capitalize on trends? For one thing, if you're breaking eBay's rules, or the law. A bunch of sellers recently had their listings for copies of the topless photos of Princess Kate (aka Kate Middleton) ended on eBay. This, following an injunction granted Kate and Prince William against the tabloids. Other things can come off as downright ghoulish, such as "murder memorabilia"; Ina wrote about such a site, MurderAuction.com in this article in 2006.

Have you ever tried to capitalize on current events with your listings on eBay or another site? Where do you draw the line with it when events are macabre? Post a comment here!




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Big Bird on eBay: Capitalizing on News Events   Big Bird on eBay: Capitalizing on News Events

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Oct 9 07:59:41 2012

I was walking down the street in a European city during the weekend of a huge event that captivated the world.  As I walked by a newspaper stand my eye caught a newspaper with the headlines of the event and it had a special events insert in it. It occurred to me to buy a few copies of the paper and list them on a venue which we sell. Timing is everything.  I did so and each copy sold for about 25 times what I paid for each copy.

Public news and hype over any person, place or thing can be your best publicity when it comes to selling a related item. It's not the image that sells those items shaped like the virgin Mary, it's the hype surrounding it.

Big Bird on eBay: Capitalizing on News Events   Big Bird on eBay: Capitalizing on News Events

This user has validated their user name. by: juliawww
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Tue Oct 9 11:28:25 2012

Rexford, that's very interesting! Good idea about news events...and they can be global as well as domestic. Wondering if your event was the fall of the Berlin Wall, but you don't have to share if you don't want. ;) Thanks for your input!

Big Bird on eBay: Capitalizing on News Events   Big Bird on eBay: Capitalizing on News Events

by: Deltamaster This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 9 11:38:04 2012

I recall back when the space shuttle disintegrated on it's return to Earth.  I was watching the news reports and ran a search on eBay.  There were about a dozen or so items for sale relating to that particular shuttle or the mission early in the day.  About 3 hours later there were about 4 pages of listings available.  Many of those (listed for an extraordinary fee) were the mission press package that could be downloaded for free from the NASA web site.  I created a penny auction offering to freely give away the web site location (and even linked it in the listing) to the NASA web site just to divert attention away from the vulture listings.

Some people were even attempting to hock chunks of rubber and other debris that they ''Claimed'' came from the shuttle wreckage.  

It was horribly disgusting.

Big Bird on eBay: Capitalizing on News Events   Big Bird on eBay: Capitalizing on News Events

This user has validated their user name. by: juliawww
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Tue Oct 9 11:54:34 2012

Delta, I agree..that's where the ''macabre'' part of this comes in. :( There is a school of thought where people actually collect items related to people they think will become news items soon.

Big Bird on eBay: Capitalizing on News Events   Big Bird on eBay: Capitalizing on News Events

by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
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Tue Oct 9 12:49:49 2012

I had a book written by Reagan's daughter that sold I think about a week after his death. It wasn't something I had tried to capitalize on as I forgotten that it was listed.

Big Bird on eBay: Capitalizing on News Events   Big Bird on eBay: Capitalizing on News Events

by: Mr. Me This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 9 18:04:29 2012

EBAY IS FOR STOOPID PEOPLE.....

Big Bird on eBay: Capitalizing on News Events   Big Bird on eBay: Capitalizing on News Events

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 9 19:50:14 2012

I made some nice money from HILARY CLINTON items when she ran for Senator for NY---where I live and had them on the lawn---when she decided to run for President.

And one person got MAD at me because after buying the item she didn't WIN!   Well she never even got CLOSE for that matter but still!!!!

The ghoulish aspect---depends on the ghoul I guess.  I thought the Micheal Jackson items being sold were pretty creepy----I don't approve selling stuff to glorify what I believe is a child molester---but that is my opinion I didn't like it and told Walmart I didn't like it too---for all the good it did!

Selling lets say the toilet Jeffry Dahmer was drowned in--or little Charlie Manson memorabilia--now THAT is WRONG.  

But ask ME what I did on my last vacation and I paid money to go to a Haunted Penitentiary where Charles Mansons mother had once been an inmate.  

So who am I to judge!

 

Big Bird on eBay: Capitalizing on News Events   Big Bird on eBay: Capitalizing on News Events

by: mylifeisgood This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 9 23:14:47 2012

I wonder is anyone is selling empty chairs

Big Bird on eBay: Capitalizing on News Events   Big Bird on eBay: Capitalizing on News Events

This user has validated their user name. by: Al G

Wed Oct 10 08:05:26 2012

That would "make my day".

Big Bird on eBay: Capitalizing on News Events   Big Bird on eBay: Capitalizing on News Events

by: Ladmo This user has validated their user name.
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Wed Oct 10 13:17:42 2012

In this instance - I hope Gov. Romney's point was that taxpayers, with or without children, have and continue to subsidize Sesame Street. If the producers of Sesame Street use public money to promote and collect monies for merchandising based on the success of this publicly supported program then the amount of public subsidy could be reduced - accordingly, upon review, on a case by case basis. I'll bet the Henson Organization is strictly ''for-profit.'' As to what the market will bare; If you wish to sell (legally obtained and non-toxic) ice cubes to Eskimos that should be your right - the market will ultimately decide your success. My free market capitalist 2 cents  



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