Boing Boing 

Haunted Playmobil set

On eBay, a toymodder called Foiled1 is selling a beautiful, highly detailed Playmobil haunted house: "So what you get is the house, fence, wallpaper and all items seen in photo's (some interior item's may vary)! Watch out for the ghost that comes through the wall! Includes all people and all items seen in photo's (some interior item's may vary). Includes wallpaper, interior items and more! This house was made using some parts with chips, dents, digs and glue, somewhat like a real home. And is made to be used in your Playmobil Victorian mansion."

Lots of exclamation marks and grocer's apo'strophe's!

Playmobil Haunted Halloween Victorian Mansion 5300 custom dollhouse

Gilbert Atomic Energy Lab: nuclear playset for kids

This Gilbert No. U-238 Atomic Energy Lab on eBay is a pretty fabulous bit of science education history: a children's science kit that included a Geiger counter, electroscope, cloud chamber, spinthariscope, and, of course, radioisotopes.
Gilbert was a man of true inspiration, often compared to Walt Disney for his creative genius. Gilbert had high expectations of America's youngsters, and with such he tried to help the future engineers, doctors and leaders by providing toys worthy of their imaginations. As the inventor of the Erector Set, and seeing its commercial appeal, the he and his company set a higher goal. They became the leading manufacturer of scientific toys (chemistry sets) and construction sets (Erector), all of which gained wide acclaim at the retail level. Interested in the joy of science more than remuneration, however, Gilbert created the Atomic Energy Lab U-238 - with the help of MIT's able faculty. The toy was made to de-mystify the perils of nuclear energy and to encourage the understanding of chemistry, physics and nuclear science - ultimately helping kids (and adults) become more open to the possibilities these disciplines offer. This educational composite, which was marketed during 1950-51, sold for $49.50 - a very high price for a toy set, even by today's standard.
Gilbert No. U-238 Atomic Energy Lab (Thanks, Cinemajay!)

Same old scams prevail at eBay

Don't forget to read the fine print on auctions at eBay, since they don't seem in much of a hurry to remove the Paypal scammers who infest search results for popular gadgets. [Crunchgear]

Dan Bull's Stupid Injunction: rap about the UK's sexy, censoring super injunctions

Copyfighting rapper Dan Bull's latest track is "Stupid Injunction," a song inspired by the UK's "super injunctions," a process by which wealthy individuals and large companies can get court orders forbidding the disclosure of embarrassing facts about their lives, and forbidding any mention of the injunction's existence at all. The InjunctionSuper Twitter account purports to publish details of the Super Injunctions, most of which involve affairs, exotic sexual activities with prostitutes and sexual harrassment.

The new Bull song coincides with his latest business model: commissioned songs. He writes, "I was thinking about how musicians made money before the record industry came about, and with that in mind I've gone back to the patronage days of old and put myself on eBay. The opening bid was 1p and it's risen phenomenally over the past couple of days. More proof that artists don't need the 'protection' of IP law..."

Stupid Injunction (by Dan Bull)

HOWTO make money

Sage advice from 37 Signals' Jason Fried on how to get good at making money through low-risk iteration and practice:
So here's a great way to practice making money: Buy and sell the same thing over and over on Craigslist or eBay. Seriously.

Go buy something on Craigslist or eBay. Find something that's a bit of a commodity, so you know there's always plenty of supply and demand. An iPod is a good test. Buy it, and then immediately resell it. Then buy it again. Each time, try selling it for more than you paid for it. See how far you can push it. See how much profit you can make off 10 transactions.

Start tweaking the headline. Then start fiddling with the product description. Vary the photographs. Take some pictures of the thing for sale; use other photos with other items, or people, in them. Shoot really high-quality shots, and also post crappy ones from your cell-phone camera. Try every variation you can think of.

I love doing this, because there's no real risk involved. If you already have a business, you don't need to dream up a new product line or rock the boat with crazy experiments. If you don't have a business, it's a perfect way to work on your chops.

How to Make Money in 6 Easy Steps (via Kottke)

Weta collectibles auction to benefit Christchurch quake victims

New Zealand special effects house Weta has put a collection of its fine models up for auction on eBay, with proceeds going to benefit victims of the Christchurch earthquake. I own two of Weta's rayguns, and they're among my most prized and beautiful possessions. Up for sale are two models based on the Lord of the Rings movies (one signed by Peter Jackson, the other by Richard Taylor) and one of the Doctor Grodbort's rayguns, customized and signed by Greg Broadmore.

Weta Limited - eBay (via Super Punch)

Hand-made R2D2 wood-burner on eBay

This mad, hand-beaten R2D2 wood-burner was adapted from a gas bottle and shined to a high gloss. He's on sale on eBay, with three days to go. Seller is in Cambridgeshire, England.
one off hand made from recycled gas bottle mesh grate has small holes to keep a good bottom in the fire, he is 28" tall and 13" round, 20" wide at the feet, he has air intake on the back, ash pan on the inside for empting ashes, 4" flue, he as took 42 hours to complete, dont think you would find another like it, or prob see another one like it, i havent sprayed this one in high temp paint, because i think it looks much better as steel, he as been sprayed with wd40 to stop him rusting, i will leave it to the winning bidder if they want to paint him,

Banksy's identity eBayed

Yours, for $25,000 or best offer, is the identity of Banksy, street artist. Allegedly!

Improving your site's SEO with each angry customer

David Segal has a fascinating and infuriating profile of an online retailer who says he deliberately antagonizes customers because their angry online reviews are part of his search engine optimization strategy. Welcome to the Troll School of Retail, making more money with each disgruntled consumer...

Forged Disney art on eBay

The Disney Fakes blog catalogs forged Disney art for sale on eBay, painstakingly cataloging the tells and errors made by the forgers. Some are hilariously bad, others are damned subtle.

Disney Fakes (via Super Punch)

Rent-seeking in the 21st century: where eBay, free software, Foxconn and the MPAA come from

Over on O'Reilly Radar, Jim Stogdill has a fabulous piece on the economic theory of rents as they apply to technology businesses, open source, cloud computing, spectrum auctions, and other chewy, boingy subjects. This is exactly the kind of economist talk I love: the stuff that makes you slap your forehead and say of course, that's how it works:
Obviously digital distribution has also damaged the traditional channel model of the music, film, and photography markets. The impact of this is that the tail-end of the curve can probably shift business models and still make the same money (by touring, selling FLAC files, whatever). But the head -- where the record companies are -- will struggle to extract rents like they used to. As they realize this, they do what rent holders who are losing always do: dispense patronage from their existing franchise and try to influence the law to make their rents more permanent.

Apple has historically lived on rents derived from superior design, which is a very hard thing to do consistently. So they've earned their rents so far. Recently, they've gotten even smarter. The App Store is an MBA's dream because it combines network effects with classic distribution channel control and slotting fees. It also has strong barriers to exit. Interestingly, Foxconn (and its employees) mostly continue to work at opportunity cost levels of renumeration. Rents stay with the leverage and are not evenly distributed through the supply chain.

Apple also finds itself in the odd position of Karmic enforcer. The software developers that once helped destroy content owners' iron-clad grip on distribution now find themselves selling their creations for 30 percent of $.99. Karma is a bitch.

Google extracts amazing rents through a combination of innovation and network effects, although they have really struggled to duplicate their core search / AdSense monopoly. Innovation is keeping Google ahead of Schumpeter for now, but hasn't yet created a second vortex of network effect monopoly. So Bing is an important threat if its share continues to grow. Emerging and effective competition in the area where you are extracting rents will have a non-linear impact on your bottom line. If all goes well (in a Schumpeterian sense), both Bing and Google's search franchises will be rent free in an economic sense. Good for people buying ads, bad for people that hope Google will keep taking the cash thrown off to innovate in other areas (like creating an Office rent-neutralizing alternative in the cloud). It's like watching a pair of Ultra Kaiju trying to choke each other out over Tokyo.

Points of control = Rents

Wooden Ferrari engine

An eBay seller in Sydney, Australia is selling this handcarved wooden Ferrari 365GTB V12 engine replica, carved to approximate 1:1 scale. It's fantastically detailed and weighs 25kg.

Ferrari 365 V12 engine (via Neatorama)

Duct-tape and Sharpie AT-AT

eBay seller Komanac is flogging this 4' high, 5' long AT-AT model made of wood, cardboard, duct-tape and Sharpie: "This was created for an art show: 'Star Wars 33&1/3 anniversary' during Art Walk here in Lethbridge Alberta. I would love to keep it but not enough room. It was created July/August of this year - it took several rolls of duct tape and 30 - 40 hours to create."

GIANT Duct Tape AT-AT Star Wars Fan Art Model/Sculpture (Thanks, Fred!)

NASA Hasselblad for sale

EBay seller Photo-arsenal-worldwide is flogging this mint-in-package NASA Hasselblad camera; bidding now stands at nearly $34,000. I love how everything in space looks like it was descended from a Tonka truck.

Hasselblad MKWE Kit brand new made for NASA (via Dinosaurs and Robots)

Lucasfilm lightsaber legal threat letter sells for $3,850

The cease-and-desist letter that Lucasfilm sent to the company that made a laser-pointer alleged to infringe the Lucas trademark on lightsabers sold recently on eBay for a whopping $3,850. The winning bidder has moderate eBay history (12 transactions), which suggests that this isn't (merely) a publicity stunt.


(Note: This story was submitted by a PR company apparently retained by the seller of this document)

Gift Idea For Delightfully Demented People: Shrunken Heads

I recently bought a house and decided to turn the guest bathroom into a "chamber of horrors". I made a list of the things my mom would never let me have when I was a kid, and at the top of the list was a real live (dead) shrunken head. But where the heck would I go to get one?

EBay of course! It turns out that the Jivaro Indians in Ecuador have toned down their warlike nature for the sake of commerce, and they're cranking out tsantsa (their word for shrunken heads) by the carload. Thankfully, they make them from goat and alpaca skins now, instead of their neighbors. These specialized tribal craftsmen haven't quite mastered the delicate art of quality control, so the heads vary in quality from laughably fake to chillingly realistic. It takes some know-how to score a really good one.

There are two philosophies to shrunken head buying at eBay... If you like gambling, buy a lot of five or more at a time. The variability of the manufacturing process guarantees that each head is totally unique and has its own personality. You may have to sift through a bunch to find the one you like. You can always give away the rejects as hostess gifts at parties for the next few years. If you are a dedicated soul and desire a "de-luxe model", scour eBay until just the right head turns up. You might pay a bit more, but you'll have the perfect facial features and hair color to match your home's decor.

"Real" Shrunken Heads For Sale at eBay
How To Tell The Difference Between Authentic and Counterfeit Shrunken Heads

Digital companies object strenuously to UK Digital Economy bill

Facebook, Google, Yahoo and eBay have written a letter to Britain's Pirate-Finder General, Peter Mandelson, objecting to his proposal to introduce the Digital Economy Bill with provisions that allow him to make up any copyright law and penalty he likes. He's responded saying, "Don't worry, no one would ever abuse that power, ever, ever. Why would they?"
"The law must keep pace with technology, so that the Government can act if new ways of seriously infringing copyright develop in the future," a spokesperson for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Bis).

The consortium believe that if Clause 17, as it is known, is approved it will give "any future Secretary of State" the ability to amend copyright laws as they see fit.

"This power could be used, for example, to introduce additional technical measures or increase monitoring of user data even where no illegal practice has taken place," the letter read.

This would "discourage innovation" and "impose unnecessary costs" representatives of the firms wrote.

Bis said that clause 17 was a necessary extension of its plans to reduce copyright theft and that fears that government would mould copyright laws to their needs were unfounded.

Web giants unite against Digital Britain copyright plan (Thanks, Graham!)