Charity or Business - You Decide
eBay is well known for many different aspects of the ecommerce business. Both good and bad, cutting edge and antiquated, these ideas live side by side on the site which can be an enigma to some or nirvana for others.
One of the good things eBay does especially well is work with charities and celebrities to auction off valuable and collectible high profile merchandise to benefit worthy charitable causes. eBay's Giving Works and Mission Fish programs are two of the brightest highlights of the history and legend that is eBay.
Carroll Shelby is Famous
Carroll Shelby is a very famous automobile designer, racer and enthusiast. There is no question that this man is a legend and an icon in the American automobile community. From his days with Ford designing and tricking out the original Ford Mustang, to his own Shelby Cobra of the late 1960's and his road racing career, Carroll Shelby has earned the respect of millions of fans and enthusiasts.
Mr. Shelby is not an eBay expert however and when famous people like him have the idea to auction off one of their prized possessions, like say... a 1968 Shelby Mustang EXP500 which has been in his own personal collection from the day it was built, he relies on the help an advice of people and companies like Kompolt.
Kompolt specializes in high profile charity auctions on eBay, they do a fantastic job of getting large amounts of traffic concentrated on high profile, well designed and meticulously crafted auctions for charity events celebrities enjoy and believe in. eBay also enjoys the extra attention provided by these seemingly philanthropic auctions.
There is a bit of a problem however when business mixes with charity and icons like Carroll Shelby are used to benefit more than charitable causes. Mr. Shelby most certainly has his heart in the right place, the vehicle he is offering to the public in an effort to benefit the Carroll Shelby Children's Foundation is a very worthwhile and generous donation.
The following information is inaccurate. The page in question is a "me" page on eBay and allows linking off site. I missed the "me" icon at the time of this writing or it was not presented on my browser. In any case, neither eBay, Restoration Hardware or Kompolt have anything to explain here. Please see my apology in the next article: http://allbusinessauctions.wordpress.com/2008/12/09/my-mistake-ebay-me-page-allows-links-kompolt-carroll-shelby-restoration-hardware-my-apologies/#comments
The Co-Sponsor of this particular auction - Restoration Hardware - may have different motivations however.
So why is it OK here?
How can eBay condone such a blatant and obvious off eBay link from such a high profile auction?
Are we to understand that eBay just did not know about these links to an eCommerce website?
Does eBay own Restoration Hardware?
Is Retoration Hardware a Diamond Powerseller with untold rights the rest of eBay seller community has no access to?
The efforts put forth by Kompolt and Mr. Shelby are not in question here either, as they have each done more good to help the world through charitable means than most small towns or large companies. Our question is not with the intent of this fine idea or the good people who have dedicated themselves to promoting these types of good events.
The Question is:
Why taint the event with eBay Rules violations and obvious commercialisation. Why would eBay risk the reputation of the good charitable work they do to allow the promotion of a competing website?
Any comments below to help enlighten the rest of us who do not understand, are always welcome.