So let me get this straight: People bid hundreds or even thousands of dollars for the chance to use software that will help them do instant messaging, social networking and file sharing from one location?
But that's exactly the case, according to the Wall Street Journal, which found a blogger from Baltimore who tried to auction his Wave invite on eBay.
Google yesterday rolled out 100,000 invites for its real-time Wave collaboration platform, which as I noted puts your basic collaboration tools in a not-so-basic configuraton: one fat palette where you can communicate and share content with friends, family and colleagues.
It's a neat tool, but who the hell would pay for something Google will eventually release free to everyone if all goes well?
The WSJ story is behind the paywall, but no worries, here are the details.
Hagan Blount, who didn't even have an invite, kicked off an auction for his Wave bid on Tuesday night. By the time he rose Wednesday, the Wave extended preview day, his auction had received 12,000 hits. The WSJ's Marisa Taylor noted:
"As the day wore on, he received about 33 bids for the Google Wave invite, with the winning bid reaching $157. One eBay user tried to set up two accounts and entered a bid for $5,000, which Mr. Blount quickly deleted. Dozens of questions piled up in his eBay account inbox, asking him if the Wave invite was real, and if so, whether it could be purchased on the spot. One man from Sweden offered $700 to buy it outright, and another who identified himself as "a businessman" said he would pony up $27,000 if the invite was authentic."
That's insanity. eBay's computers apparently agreed, sending an automated message saying that he was violating the site's terms of service by trying to sell an item without owning the copyright.
Blount removed the auction, but others are popping up.
The precedent as far as Google is concerned goes back to the Gmail launch in 2004, and I know some tried to sell their Google Voice invites.
This is crazy. Unless you know a whole bunch of people who are already using Wave, and this is extremely unlikely except for Googlers, their friends and the digerati covering them, it makes absolutely no sense to pay to play for Wave.
You can't Wave with people who don't have it, so unless those people procure invites to install Wave, what's the point?
Am I missing something? Besides an invite to Wave? Grrrrrrr.