coffeebsd Wins Laptop Auction, Over $3450 Going to EFF

Windows Vista Laptop Auction

After 7 days and over 30,000 views, the eBay auction of my contentious Windows Vista laptop is finally over. The winner is Sheyenne York (coffeebsd), with a high bid of $3,650, of which the net proceeds will make a very nice donation to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the nonprofit benefactor I selected for this charity auction.

Unfortunately I had some major problems with this auction and eBay’s level of customer service, especially related to security issues. The last three bidders were fraudulent, as well as several earlier bidders. In fact we have evidence that suggest that most, if not all of the invalid bidders were all the same person (I’ll give you one guess who it was, someone who would do anything to compromise this auction). The first fake bidder bid up the auction over $20,000, which didn’t seem to concern eBay, even after I tried contacting right after it happened (they still have not responded to my 12/29 security inquiry). Because of these problems, I finally had to lock down the auction so that all new bidders had to be pre-approved so we could verify their identity first, before they could bid. Needless to say I’m glad the auction is over. After this taxing ordeal I’m going to avoid using eBay and not recommend it to anyone else until eBay make some major security changes and improve their level customer support. I think I’m just spoiled by all the other online services that I use that focus on their users and higher quality of service.

With that said, I’m happy to announce that I’ll be presenting EFF with a donation check for just over $3561, which is the net proceeds of the auction (the auction amount, less eBay and and PayPal charges), on January 11th at their Sweet 16 Party at 111 Minna Gallery in San Francisco.

A special thanks goes out to Jonathan Eric Rosen (ReliaBid), Brian Phillips (PayPal), Xeni Jardin (Boing Boing), Niall Kennedy, Dave McClure, Brian Solis and Paul Boutin for their advice and help with the auction. Finally, congratulations to Sheyenne York for winning the auction.

UPDATE: The final EFF donation amount is $3561.00. The total proceeds from the auction were $3650, less $84.00 for eBay fees and less $5 for PayPay fees, which leaves $3561.00. This turned out the be a little higher than I had originally estimated.