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Gamer's Life: From the Archives

(all articles written by T. Rob Brown, aka Chokra Broodslayer)

Gamer’s Life
Originally published Saturday, Aug. 28, 1999, in the Branson (Mo.) Tri-Lakes Daily News

Online auctions have wide variety of items

By T. Rob Brown
(aka Chokra Broodslayer)

After hearing many people talk about this online auction site called eBay, I finally decided to check it out this week.

I’ve cruised all over the Internet in the past 5 years I’ve been online, but eBay is quite interesting.

Hopefully, it’s not too addictive. I’d hate to be that boy who was busted for bidding thousands of dollars on rare or antique items. Of course, he couldn’t pay.

I guess that’s the number one thing on eBay, make sure you can pay for everything at the level you bid it at. Basically, it’s just like a regular auction, only online and you can’t always see the product or service before you purchase it.

Being a photographer, I quickly went to the photo equipment area trying to find some bargains on a new Nikon speedlight and some lenses I’ve been looking for.

It’s actually pretty fun to use the online auction. You make a bid of what you think is a bargain price and see if you’re the high bidder. If you are, you stick around until someone outbids you or you win the auction.

If you get outbid, you receive an e-mail notifying you of the new high bid. You can then go back and up your bid or you can let the item go to someone else.

Even if you’re the high bidder, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will get the item. There are two other things to keep in mind: One, some people have a reserve price on their item and they don’t have to sell it to you unless the high bid meets or exceeds that reserve; and two, you could get outbid at the last second.

It’s best to be online right up to the last minute if you’re bidding on an item you really want. My friend and fellow news staffer Chad Hunter asked me to bid for him on some CDs he’s been looking for and it was a battle back and forth for the high bid – working our way up 50 cents to $1 at a time. Just less than 2 minutes before the auction closed, we upped the bid. Someone else still outbid us.

I’m hoping go to get a good deal on a Nikon speedlight, since mine is on the fritz and this will prevent me from properly shooting sports until I’m back up to full equipment status.

After that, I went to my second passion in life – computer games. Cruising through here, I’ve already won a few bids and will pay less than $5 for some $30 computer games. Quite a good deal.

If you remember on of my past columns, I occasionally play Ultima Online (UO). I noticed there’s a category for UO on eBay, so I went there to see why it was popular enough to have its own area.

Well, it wasn’t a total shock, because I had heard of people selling their characters, but I was quite surprised at the prices things were selling for.

I could understand someone buying an antique English set of armor for $400, but a virtual suit of armor for a computer game character? And, yes, people were actually bidding those prices. I saw people selling their whole characters for thousands of dollars.

How can you justify paying real money for an imaginary entity out on some computer in the middle of who-knows-where?

It’s quite insane.

People were selling castles they built online, towers, cottages, houses, horses or their whole Ultima Online account.

I was sitting their just staring at my near-antique, small, pitiful 14-inch monitor and just wondering who these idiots are. Immediately, I had to call Chad in to take a look at this.

He came in, looked over my shoulder at the monitor and was just staring wide-eyed over the outrageous prices people were bidding for imaginary items.

Another thing which really did shock me is the prices people are paying for registered websites. I saw one website that sells computer components and it had a bid going up to $2 million. I sure hope that comes with a few computers!

Of course, some of the sites people were selling for large prices were pornographic sites. They probably make a huge bundle of profit while increasing the corruption of society.

As with anything in the world, there are good, evil and neutral components. That’s one thing in life, I guess there’s always going to be a balance in power while this planet exists.

Another thing which shocked me was people selling CD-Rs, typically copies of music CDs or bootleg concert recordings. And many of these people were so stupid, they’d put the words “CD-R” or “bootleg” right in the title for the item they’re selling.

Most people with legitimate music recordings will put “not a CD-R” to make sure the buyer knows they’re getting the real deal.

No matter what you’re into, the online auctions have it. I saw a plethora of collectibles and I’m sure I’ll be checking it out on a daily basis.

Hasta la vista.


[Editor's Note: Edits for grammar, punctuation, artifacts, and syntax made to press releases by GamingNews Editor T. Rob Brown,]

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