A popular Chinese online marketplace has removed 50,000 Apple iTunes accounts being offered on its Website following a controversy that erupted last week.
The decision by Taobao follows a Jan. 6 report by the Global Times that revealed the accounts were available for between 1 and 200 yuan, which is equivalent to roughly 15 cents and $30 (USD). Thousands of compromised accounts are believed to have been sold through the site during the past several months, according to the report.
With more than 800 million product listings and 370 million registered users, Alibaba Group-owned Taobao touts itself as the largest online retail Website in China. According to John Spelich, vice president of international corporate affairs for Alibaba Group, the iTunes accounts were taken down after Taobao received complaints from users.
A reporter at the Global Times was reportedly able to purchase an account by paying $5 to a seller on the site for an iTunes username and password. The information got the reporter access to the account as well as the associated credit card and billing address information.
According to reports, prospective buyers were told to complete all downloads using the accounts within 24 hours of the transaction on Taobao.
This is not the first time Taobao has removed suspicious listings related to iTunes. In 2009, the Website took down several unauthorized iTunes gift cards being auctioned on the site.