May 03, 2004

Why you won't see me on the evening news for ripping off old people

I just don't think I have a devious enough mind! When I read about this auction mini-frenzy I was almost completely blown away. I mentioned in an earlier post that I took advantage of an opportunity from Blogger to open a Gmail account in its beta version. I have started using it for limited purposes -- I forward to it e-mail that I don't want to "time out" on my AOL account and send links there that I plan to use here at some point -- but I haven't spent a whole lot of time with my inbox. So I never noticed the "Invite a Friend!" link there and had no idea that: a.) I could invite two people to open an account; b.) Anyone would actually pay for that opportunity; or c.) Anyone would think to auction off the opportunity!

In checking out some of the auctions, I came across this blog, whose owner claims to have set up the first such auction. (His blog started out being focused on, the new search engine from that is also in its beta stage, but he has broadened the focus to include "other search technologies.") I think his doing so was more of an experiment than anything, but the speed and rapacity with which other people jumped on board is somewhat astonishing, though I suppose it really shouldn't be -- people will do most anything to earn a buck, by hook or by crook. What I'm not clear on is how people find out about these auctions so quickly -- between this and The Wedding Dress Guy, I've spent more time checking out eBay this week than I have in the last year. What I am clear on is how the blog world is spreading the word on these auctions like wildfire. After I posted about The Wedding Dress Guy on Hope Springs A Leak, I saw it mentioned on more than half a dozen other blogs within a day. Considering how many blogs there are and how relatively few I check out on a daily basis (though it seems like a lot to me!), that really speaks to the way in which ideas bounce or, dare I say it, hopscotch around.