Monday, February 19, 2007

Britney's Hair eBay Auction Becomes Web Site

I figured out why I couldn't find the "authentic" Britney Spears hair eBay auction listing. eBay had taken it down.

It's now a web site at  At the top is $1,000,000 -- "minimum offer."

"This is it, the opportunity of a lifetime. You can be the proud owner
of Britney Spears' hair, extensions, the Omega clipper used to cut it
all off and even the can of Red Bull she was drinking at the time. You
also get her blue Bic Lighter and this valuable domain and website to
use for publicity purposes. This is the Ultimate Britney Spears
Experience! It is a piece of history that can not be duplicated!"

The web site owner, reportedly the owners of Esther's Haircutting Studio in Tarzana, Ca., write:

"Please Note: WE HAD THE HAIR LISTED ON EBAY, ITEM# 330089956532 AND IT

There are pictures of the hair, as well as Britney's blue lighter.


So "If you are SERIOUS about purchasing please do the following: Please send an email to and include your name, company name (if applicable), email, phone number, and address."

Who will the new owner be? Golden Palace Casino, perhaps?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Britney's High-Priced Hairball and Google Checkout

In case you didn't see the ubiquitous press reports, Britney Spears shaved her head the other day. So of course some of the hair had to show up on eBay. I read this morning in The Washington Post that her hair was on sale for "1 million on eBay" by the salon owner, Esther Tognozzi of Esther's Haircutting Studio in Tarzana, California.

However, when I went on eBay to check out the auction and sorted the Britney hair auctions by highest price (yes, it seems everybody and their brother claims to have gotten their hands on her hair, and some of it even seems to have flown to Australia in record time), I did not see the $1,000,000 auction that was supposedly legitimate. 

I did see a lot of fake-looking auctions, including one currently at $99,999,999 with 72 inexplicable bids ("NEWS ALERT BRITNEY SPEARS SHAVES HEAD GET a hair chunk"). The piece of hair shown in the pic is also blonde, and as Britney watchers know, she had her hair dyed dark brown when it was shaved.

Other auctions claim to be authentic, including one at $100,100 with 3 bids, one at $30,100 with 39 bids (both blonde and brownish looking); and one currently at $4,150 in the search results list but with a price of $250,100 once you click into the auction (how that works, I have NO idea).

That last auction appears to be more authentic than any of the others, if for no other reason than the location is indeed Tarzana, Ca., where the hair-chopping allegedly took place.

One enterprising young man is running an auction titled "Just Like Britney Spears..My Hair, starting at $49.99..only, oops, when I click into it, it says "this listing has been removed or is unavailable."

I imagien the eBay staff is having a field day with these auctions.

In other news, the Post did an interesting piece on Google Checkout on Sunday (  While PayPal has 133 million account holders, and Checkout
handles only one transaction for every 70 that PayPal does, Google seems to be aggressively gaining ground.

I'd like to see both services more widely accepted (I was happy to see PayPal used by Babies R Us whenI went to buy a friend a shower gift the other day), and I see advantages to of PayPal's is that you can easily buy stuff on the Internet using proceeds from your eBay auctions. Google's Checkout is reportedly one-click, which is something that I think a lot of people in this fast-paced world will appreciate.

eBay's excuse for not allowing Checkout on eBay is that Checkout doesn't have a proven track record, but as Checkout gains acceptance, I think that is going to be harder for them to claim. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Getting Great Scores on Craigslist

A woman scored a sueded couch for $200, and $260 retail value end tables for $37.50 on craigslist. She's one of the craigslist "early responders," who troll the site regularly, sometimes many times a day, looking for good deals.

This according to a piece in the "Home" section of today's Washington Post, which has a feature article titled "Click and Brag." As I espouse in my ebook about craigslist, "Making Money (and Getting a Life?) via Craigslist": only $8.95!" (, the earlybirds definitely get, worms on CL.

The Post piece also urges you to pick up quickly, have cash in hand, and to exchange phone #s with the seller to check  if the item is still free, if necessary, and to get directions.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

How Google can Avoid YouTube Copyright Problems

There has been more in the news about media co.'s such as Viacom taking issue with unauthorized use of their videos on Google's YouTube. (See today's USA Today, "Google takes hits from YouTube's use of video clips, " 3B).

OK, I see how they have a problem with that. But what I don't get is why media co's aren't more enthusiastic about seeing YouTube as a new source of revenue. In my mind, Google just needs to figure out a way (this may be harder than it sounds, I know) to tag or have users designate who the copyright owner is for what video when it is uploaded. Or maybe the community does it, or YouTube employees do it, whatever.

Then, for whatever ads are run in, around, or before the video, YouTube/Google and the media owner (Viacom, GE/NBC, whoever) split the ad revenue 50-50, or  40-60,  or whatever they agree on as a split.

Viacom gets to make money off its  tv show clips such as Jon Stewart, the Colbert show, whatever (which, frankly, I don't think people were paying to download in droves before); Google makes money from providing a popular forum for the clips, and the public gets its fun daily fix of short-attention-span videos all on one convenient, homey place. What's not to like?

I don't think the public (if I may speak for the public) wants to see the Balkanization of their online videos, where they have to go to and download three minutes of Jon Stewart, then hunt down Prince playing at the Super Bowl, blah blah blah yaddi yaddi yadda.

OK, so maybe setting up the administration of this would be a nightmare, but I think all the big brains at Google should be able to figure it out. And I hope the big media companies keep an open mind about this because it would be sad to see all this content get scattered will-nilly. (And hey...the copyright owners don't even have to do the tedious job of uploading their own content..someone does it for them!).

Thoughts? Think I'm way off or totally deluded? Feel free to post a comment here. :)

Friday, February 9, 2007

Item Titles..Thank Goodness They're Coming to Feedback 2.0

This is going to be a very quick post. I was doing my leaving feedback task this morning, and realized how much easier it would be if we could see the fool item titles along with the item numbers. It's so hard to remember what's what without it..well, who could expect you to remember item numbers anyway? It's like trying to identify your items by the buyers' Social Security numbers.

The good news is with Feedback 2.0, we will be able to see the item titles along with the item numbers! Yoo-hoo! So I know that I sometimes criticize the way eBay does things..well, let's hope it's just constructive criticism..but, it's also important to say when changes are for the good.

I'll be writing more about Feedback 2.0 soon, for AuctionBytes, but for now I wanted to pass my thanks to eBay for making this important change.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

eBay Live 2007: Suze Orman and..lunch with Bill Cobb?

Anyone for Cobb salad? OK, that corny joke just came to me; I apologize. But the first rumblings of eBay Live! 2007 (Boston) are trickling in; eBay opened their registration on the website the other day (go to, and I got my shiny new eBay "Sellsational" brochure in the mail the other day, complete with hip fighures jumping in the air, not unlike an iPod commercial.

So far in terms of details on events and speakers, I can tell you that financial guru Suze Orman will be one of the featured folks, "sharing her financial insights and motivating you to greater heights."

Also, in the last Town Hall with Bill Cobb, a member suggested they run a charity auction on eBay to give the highest bidders the chance to have lunch with him. He indicated they would look into it, and it sounds like something we may see. Stay tuned.

In terms of hotels, they seem to be filling up fast, and there aren't many that are close to the BCEC, the convention center where the event is being held (there is more than one convntion center in Boston, so make sure you get the right one).

Also, eBay is giving folks the chance to get the "VIP treatment" by adding a "Priority Pass" to their can "get special gifts, a separate registration line so you can bypass the crowds and get to the good stuff faster, and VIP access and reserved seating at the Keynote Address." I don't know how much extra that costs (if any), but if you know, post a comment here. Otherwise I'll look into it.

Comments about eBay Live 2007, or reminiscences about past ones? Post 'em here..leave a comment.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Second Life: Deja Vu from Club Caribe

I was just reading in AuctionBytes that eBay has allowed the sale of items from the virtual world "Second Life," which is an exception to their general policy of banning the sale of "virtual game items."

It's been noted by Ina Steiner of AuctionBytes, and others, that eBay's founder Pierre Omidyar has invested in Second Life. There is a great article about the site in today's (Mon. Feb. 5) USA Today, and a profile of its founder.

The whole thing about Second Life, avatars and virtual worlds makes me smile, because it reminds me of the virtual world "Club Caribe," which was produced by AOL's predecessor company, Quantum Computer Services, Inc., where I worked from 1988-1997.


I only spent a little time in Caribe -- it had been called "Habitat" prior to that, and was co-produced by Lucasfilm -- but it was memorable. As I recall I was running it on a Commodore 64 computer, and at the time I had two keys which stuck, the "w" and the "y," so my scintillating virtual comments were things like "Hi, ho are ou?" instead of "Hi, How are you?"

One of the more legnedary creatures in Caribe was a purple worm-like thing that people would get turned into from time to time. You could also steal someone else's head, which caused much joy and merriment, in addition to feelings of revenge, no doubt.

A cool site that has images of Caribe is here:

It will be interesting to see what happens with Second Life, and if it morphs into a whole new, people-friendly way to navigate the net, similar to the way Mosaic, later Netscape, revolutionized the way we browse the Internet.

I also wouldn't be surprised if eBay, Google or Yahoo bought Second Life. For some reason I see Google as being the company most interested, because they seem to be into revolutionary concepts, but eBay already has the Pierre Omidyar connection, so who knows.

As with everything in the Internet world, stay tuned. But can we please take a moment to remember Habitat and Club Caribe, two of the pioneer virtual communities?

Thursday, February 1, 2007

The Jury Is Out on Feedback 2.0

eBay is tinkering with Feedback for the first time in a while. Their "Feedback 2.0" is being tested in the U.K. right now. I nosed around some of the UK boards and found that some sellers were worried that  eBay is too concerned with the buyers' end of things with the feedback changes. The new feedback features allow buyers to add star ratings to sellers' profiles, so they can rate certain components of the transaction, such as shipping, communication, etc.

Although I think the changes can make feedback more meaningful for buyers, I worry a bit about sellers feeling they are being dinged and judged in too many ways, when the burden is not shared by buyers.  Some sellers whined about buyers who have crazily unrealistic expectations.

Still, with these kinds of changes, one must often wait for the dust to settle, as it were. Let's see how it all shakes out. I appreciate that eBay seems to take its changes to its all-important Feedback system very seriously. And Bill Cobb, in the webcast I downloaded, gets that there is a whole wait-for-the -other-party-to-leave-positive-feedback-before-I-leave-positive-feedback thing going on..or, I'll leave you a neg if you'll leave me a neg. So they are right to address the issue, I think.  (Inasmuch as it can be addressed).

But is this the right way to do it? Stay tuned.