Mostly Bollogs, I'm afraid

But occasionally, a glimmer of truth.
If you find one, please let me know.

Tuesday 22 January 2008

The Virtual World

Welcome to eArth.

iPod, eBay, oYez, oYez, oYez.

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in aLandslide, no eScape from rEality.

I remember when I was the only person I knew who didn't have an eBay account. In fact, I didn't have a PC at home (I still don't), I didn't have a telephone (I still don't) or a television (ditto). Everyone else had everything; an iPod (I got one last week and I still think it's cool), a blackberry (over my dead body), and a SatNav (I did have one but some kind soul bricked the window of my car and nicked it, thanks).

Now I'm the only person I know who has been banned from eBay. I bought a couple of things off it, before I realised that the price of them is usually better in the shops. And most of the hits (is that the word?) from eBay were shops, anyway.

What heinous crime did I commit? Remember the two CDs that went missing from Her Maj's Tax Monkeys? I advertised them on eBay. It was a "joke", you know, where someone finds something funny?

In four hours or so, my auction had 4,000 "hits". Dozens of cyberpeople were asking cyberquestions which were obviously cyberspoofs, and I was having tremendous cyberfun answering them all. I kept them somewhere - one day I'll publish them.

Then all of a sudden, everything went quiet. Suspicious, I logged on to eBay to see if the auction had expired, an anonymous Russian Football club owner having bid millions of pounds.

"Your account has been suspended."

Ah. It will be an automatic account-suspender in action, I will eMail eBay and tell them it is only a joke, a jape, a wheeze, and all will be well.

I did so. I eventually received a reply, saying that I was suspended for trying to sell mailing lists contrary to eBay's policy of not selling anything which might now or in the future be politically-incorrect (PiC).

I duly pointed out that it was only a game, a spoof, we were having cyberfun and don't be so silly.

They pointed out that although they knew that, which clearly they didn't until I brought it to their attention, it was possible that someone might miscontrue the sale for a genuine one and offer me cybermillions and then I would be Very Rich Indeed, but the burk that paid the money would be in receipt, directly from Paraguay, of a couple of definitely dodgy discs and would therefore sue eBay for eZillions and the virtual world would be bankrupt.

Because I was not a mad axe murderer but rather just one or two on the mad scale, they conceded that I may reactivate my account, and that all I had to do was to send a facsimile of my passport, proof of address, thirty-seven bank statements, my PIN number, the names of any pets I have ever had or might think of acquiring in the next forty years and my shoe size. Actually not all of this is exactly what they said, but the passport bit definitely is.

That's all right then. I rip envelopes up and burn them, because I don't want some ePikey ripping off my identity, but it's all right for me to send the equivalent of my memoirs to eBay. In Ireland. I wouldn't tell the government my bank account number, let alone someone who can't tell the difference between irony and ironmongery.

They seem to think they're real. They're a tatty little cyberspace auction site who got there first. One day, and I hope soon, another one will spring up and do what eBay did orginally, which was to allow people to easily and cheaply shift their stuff to bargainhunters, and leave eBay to their little powersellers, eShops and what eVer.

So if anyone spots anything on eBay that they think I might like, please feel free to eMail me the details. I guarantee I won't be interested, but one day those two discs might really turn up. I don't want to be the only one to miss out.