eBay, Geldof Knock Heads Over Live 8

Apparently, Bob Geldof doesn’t like eBay , either.

Geldof, the former lead singer of the Irish rock band the Boomtown
Rats, first gained fame in the late 1970s with the hit “I Don’t
Like Mondays.” A few years later he leveraged that success to help launch
Live Aid in 1985. It was the first mega-concert featuring multiple artists
from many nations, and it was designed to alleviate hunger in Ethiopia.

Now that Geldof is back in the spotlight with his upcoming Live 8
concerts, once again organized to fight poverty in Africa, he is singing a
similar tune but with a technology twist: “I don’t like eBay.”

Geldof was angered this week at the auction giant because the free
tickets for the July 2 concert in London’s Hyde Park — featuring Paul
McCartney, Snoop Dogg, U2, Sting and Madonna — were being auctioned for as
much as $2,000 on eBay’s U.K. site.

The 150,000 tickets were to be free to lottery winners who entered via text
messaging. More than 2 million people sent text messages for tickets.

The rocker told Britain’s Sky News that eBay’s refusal to stop the
auctions was “despicable,” and “they should have thought about it before
they did this,” the AP reported.

“The people who are selling these tickets on Web sites are miserable
wretches who are capitalizing on people’s misery,” Geldof reportedly told
Sky News.

He also accused eBay of being “electronic pimps.”

But eBay defended its right to auction the tickets.

“A ticket to the Live
8 concert is no different from a prize won in a raffle, and what the winner
chooses to do with it is up to them,” the company said in a released

After continued pressure and haranguing from Geldof, eBay offered to
make matching donations to charity, but once again, Geldof went on the offensive.

“It is filthy money made on the back of the poorest people on the
planet. Stick it where it belongs,” he told the BBC.

However, eBay decided to change its course after Geldof had called for a worldwide boycott of the auction site and suggested Internet users take down the sites through whatever means.

“Though selling these tickets on eBay is not illegal and we believe
people do have the right to buy and sell items as they choose, we made an
exception to our policy on the occasion of this unique, charitable concert,”
the auctioneer said in a statement.

As of late this week the mess still had not subsided completely. During
the period when eBay was still allowing the auction of tickets, many users
had logged on to the site to make outrageously high bids to ensure the
tickets could not be sold, undermining the process.

EBay informed the high bidders via e-mail that they had been
suspended from the site.

Live 8 is a series of concerts that will be held simultaneously in
London, Paris, Berlin, Rome and Philadelphia.

Updates prior version to stipulate that the Boomtown Rats were an Irish band.

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