Bob Geldof Confused As To How The Internet, Free Markets Work

from the rock-on dept

I guess it should come as no surprise that someone from the “old school” music industry would be a bit confused about how this internet thing (and free markets!) works. Bob Geldof, is hard at work organizing the sequel to LiveAid, this time called Live 8, and part of the ticket distribution plan was to give away free tickets to various people via a text lottery. Those tickets have been given out and in what should surprise no one, they’re now appearing on eBay. No big deal there, right? Wrong. According to Geldof, eBay is pure evil. While he’s upset at the people selling the tickets, he’s even more pissed off at eBay to the point of calling for a boycott of the service (yeah, that’ll work…). Apparently, the fact that some of the winners of the tickets might want to be less impoverished themselves matters nothing when it comes to the principle of ending African poverty. Of course, since eBay is just a marketplace, it’s hard to see how they’re to blame — but that won’t stop Geldof: “What eBay are doing is profiteering on the backs of the impoverished.” This from a guy who’s main claim to fame over the past twenty years or so is his fight to “end poverty in Africa.” It’s a noble cause and all, but you could certainly claim that he’s been using the cause to his own benefit as well. Meanwhile, eBay is actually going above and beyond what they need to do in promising to donate the proceeds of the sales to Live 8 (showing, er, that they’re not actually “profiteering.”) eBay also has a somewhat snarky response to Geldof’s claims: “we live in a free market where people can make up their own minds.” Apparently that’s only angered Geldof more: “The people who are selling it are wretches. But far worse is the corporate culture which capitalizes on people’s misery.” Again, it doesn’t seem like it’s eBay who’s actually “capitalizing” on this at all. Update: Looks like eBay wasn’t that serious in its initial snarky comments and has now agreed to back down and block the sales of such tickets — meaning they’ll just move to other forums — and that none of the proceeds will be donated. Update 2: Apparently Geldof’s fans also went a little nuts on this one bidding up the eBay auctions to ridiculous amounts to make their sale impossible. Meanwhile, we’re still trying to figure out exactly who’s hurt in having these tickets resold?

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Bob Geldof Confused As To How The Internet, Free Markets Work”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Pete Austin says:

Geldof should support trade

“Tickets to the star-studded London show, which aims to pressure world leaders into fighting poverty, were given away to the winners of a text lottery. But they immediately started appearing on eBay for hundreds of pounds. “I am sick with this,” Geldof said in a statement. “What eBay are doing is profiteering on the backs of the impoverished.”

Geldof is 100% wrong in this. Protectionism by rich countries keeps Africa poor and he should be attacking it unambiguously, not promoting an equivalent policy. (BTW protectionism by poor countries is a necessary evil).

“Protectionism in the world trading system is hampering the economic opportunities that African states need to promote their social and economic growth. If the Group of Eight (G8), was serious about helping African countries to develop their political, social and economic institutions, they could have signed on the total removal of protectionist policies”
Protectionism: Africa’s Perennial Headache

Tim Almond says:

Geldof idiot

Worst of all, he’s actually going to reduce some money going to charity. About 3% of the sales would have gone to charity.

Having stopped ebay doing this, the sales will go on elsewhere, on private websites and the like. Geldof won’t be able to mobilise a media campaign against one-man-band ticket sellers like he can against a giant like Ebay.

Anyone think these guys are going to hand over some commission to charity?

So, let’s say 5,000 tickets get traded at ?200 a throw, that’s ?30K of free money that African charities aren’t going to get. Nice one Bob.

z0idberg says:


what the hell did he think would happen when you give away* tickets in an limited auction to a once only event. As soon as this was announced it was obvious this was going to happen.
I suppose he got his way though after kicking up a stink at least the people selling them wont make quite as much money but they will still sell them so whats the difference?
*not really given away – it cost ?1.50 or something to enter the draw
Actually – I would say a lot of people paid the fee and entered that lottery for the chance to sell the tickets on ebay to make a profit. So actually the possibility of selling the tickets at a profit actually _increased_ the amount of money the lottery raised. So all that he is doing by stopping the auctions is deny people that opportunity, but they have already paid to enter the raffle so what does he care….

Sean says:


“…. This from a guy who’s main claim to fame over the past twenty years or so is his fight to “end poverty in Africa.” It’s a noble cause and all, but you could certainly claim that he’s been using the cause to his own benefit as well. …”

I give up…. the commentary on techdirt has become more negative and, dare I day, silly of late. Why would you try to mock and attack the character of a man who has done so much for others. Why try to introduce doubt on his character. Sure, he mightn’t understand the internet and eBay, and like a level but why ridicule his huge contribution to the third world. Re-read the part I quoted above and ask yourself, why was this necessary in this article.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Why....

The point of that sentence was that it sometimes seems like he’s done a lot more building up his own name than he’s done in actually fighting poverty in Africa. His name is everywhere on this thing — and so it seems odd for him to claim that others are “profiteering on the backs of the impoverished.” As I said, it’s a noble cause, and I’m glad he’s doing it — but too many of these star-backed causes with big concerts don’t actually seemed aimed at helping the *real* issues in these nations at all — but to make a lot of noise about it and send some money. That doesn’t help the real issues that those nations face at all. Instead, it often seems like the people in those nations are being exploited just for the sake of “a cause.”

Rainblk says:

Bob almost got right answer by chance..

Hmm, reading Techdirt is interesting. Seems thou, that the concert promoters could have made better use of the “ticket-sales-on-Ebay” opportunity by intentionally sending them to celebrities they know wouldn’t be likely to attend in person. Allowing the public to bid on tickets destined for some big Hollywood or Rock Star would have probably brought in big bucks. It shouldn’t have been that hard to get the Famous Folks to autograph the tickets personally, and donate the proceeds back to the Live8 cause.

That’ll be ten dollars, please.

Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

America Online (Quote, Chart) is spreading the musical wealth to a chorus of outlets and online partners that will take part in the Live 8 concert on July 2. Live 8 concerts will take place on Saturday in Philadelphia, London, Paris, Berlin and Rome, all in the name of poverty relief…

While the concerts — expected to draw a broadcast audience of up to two billion people — focus on poverty, businesses are seeing a potential cash cow.
Rockin’ in the Fee World

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...