#eBayWatch Defeats Scalpers

The scalping issue came to mind immediately following the announcement that Joe Paterno’s public memorial service would be a ticketed event. I tried to convince myself otherwise, but deep down I knew that as soon as those tickets became available, some would also hit the secondary market with a heavy price tag. Unfortunately, as 10 a.m. passed, and Penn State students, alumni, and fans gobbled up every last available ticket in a matter of minutes, my premonition became reality.

Recent Penn State (and Onward State) alums Caity Rogowski and Ariel Abramowitz flexed their social media muscles to put a stop to such a “reprehensible practice” (as Rodney Erickson put it) surrounding such a sad time.

“Ariel pointed out that bids were rapidly increasing for one listing, which we figured was to get eBay’s attention, and we wanted to continue that,” said Rogowski, referring to how the campaign began. “(Ariel) said we needed a hashtag for this, and I saw everyone on Twitter posting updates on ticket prices, and #eBayWatch just made the most sense.”

Rogowski and Abramowitz began to drive prices up on every ticket listing they could find while also reporting each listing in an effort to catch eBay’s attention (eBay users may not list items to be sold for profit if they are free to the public). They, like many, shared a feeling of disgust with those looking to make a profit off of a man’s memorial service.

“Capitalizing on someone’s death is disgusting and against everything that Joe Paterno stood for,” Abramowitz said via text. “This (memorial) should be a chance for the Penn State community having the chance to say goodbye, not a way to make a quick few hundred dollars.”

Abramowitz also proudly mentioned that, to their knowledge, nearly every ticket listed on eBay and CraigsList that attempted to sell for a profit had been removed. Her bids skyrocketed to as high as $99, 509, and eBay suspended her account as a result of bidding on too many items. Asked about her thoughts on the whole situation, Abramowitz quipped, “Joe is probably annoyed that we’re even fussing over him at all right now.”

Thanks to mediums like Facebook and Twitter, recent graduates like these two still feel updated on what’s happening at Dear Old State. And, as the #eBayWatch campaign shows, it doesn’t matter where you’re located to have your impact felt in the Penn State community.

“You’re still a part of the Penn State community no matter where you are. Luckily, (the Penn State community) is so into social media that everything is shared quickly,” Rogowski said when asked about being away from Happy Valley this week. “It’s kind of nice to have such a strong online presence because it feels like you’re not missing out on anything.”

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About the Author

John Tecce

John is a senior in the Smeal College of Business majoring in Marketing. He currently serves as the President of the Paternoville Coordination Committee and as a THON Chair for Nittany Nation. He tweets a lot.

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