As the Presidential campaign heats up eBay is playing an interesting part in the internet partisan fights.
Both eBay sellers and political activists are taking advantage of the eBay platform to make money, raise money, promote their favorites and slam their opponents.
For a while the Democratic National Committee was selling a Romney Flip Flop kit but for some reason these auctions are no longer showing up on eBay. AuctionBytes reported earlier this week that Meg Whitman is supporting and raising money for Romney and that the Romney campaign was using AuctionPal as a channel for their supporters to donate items that are auctioned off to benefit the campaign. You can read the full AuctionBytes story here.
Ron Paul is selling .999% pure silver dollars on eBay but this may come to an end as Federal Agents stormed NORFED, his coin maker’s factory, yesterday and seized all of the coins. In the Federal warrant that leaked an FBI agent stated he is “investigating NORFED for federal violations including “uttering coins of gold, silver, or other metal,” “making or possessing likeness of coins,” mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and conspiracy. “The goal of NORFED is to undermine the United States government’s financial systems by the issuance of a non-governmental competing currency for the purpose of repealing the Federal Reserve and Internal Revenue Code,” he states. I suspect these coin auctions may be pulled by eBay or then will reduce as sellers run out of supply.
Some eBay sellers are just taking advantage of the popular keywords that a political name brings to sell goods like the fellow who is making his own T-shirts with the name of almost every candidate. Another seller has designed a line of Political Clocks with irreverent sayings about each candidate.
Others are already selling campaign collectibles like badges, autographed magazine covers, baseballs, and other memorabilia. And, other sellers who are highly partisan are using eBay as a place to make political statements for and against their favorite candidates.
I decided to do a count of the auctions to gauge popularity. So far it looks like Hillary Clinton is leading in pure numbers of listings. Here are the numbers of active listings for each candidate.
Hillary Clinton 619
Ron Paul 328
Barack Obama 294
Rudi Giuliani 160
Fred Thompson 59
John McCain 55
Mike Huckabee 49
Mitt Romney 29
John Edwards 24
Bill Richardson 12
Dennis Kucinich 9
Duncan Hunter 1 on eBay and 7 in eBay stores
Tom Tancredo 1 on eBay and 9 in eBay stores
Chris Dodd 0 on eBay but 6 items in eBay Stores
Hillary leads easily but this is partly due to the enormous number of her books sold by booksellers on eBay. When I took the book sellers out, she still leads but Obama is pretty close –of course some of his listing are for his book as well.
One note – if you count misspellings the results are slightly different, but the rankings don’t really change. It is amazing the number of people who don’t bother to look up the correct spelling of the names of candidates before launching an auction. Some of the common ones I found were: Hilary, Barac, Juliani, Kucinich and McCane.
It will be interesting to watch the political wars on eBay as the campaign heats up.
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