Google Wave invite hits eBay, price soars

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    A Google Wave invite – for $5100? At one point that's what one buyer was offering.
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What's a Google Wave invite worth?

Would you believe $5100? That's the price one seller was being offered this morning for a coveted invitation to Google's new Wave collaboration tool on online auction site eBay.

Google Wave, in case you haven't heard, is a new product that allows users to share photos, text, gadgets, and links in a shared space.

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We're not immune to the invitation drool fest, but it seems apparent that auctioning off the free invites, sent to help Google work out the kinks in its new product, isn't the way to go. (Even though the price did drop back to around $100 after the astronomical bids were deleted.)

One eBay member agrees, posting this as a question to the item's seller:

Oooooh! That's right! It's against eBay TOS [Terms of Service] to sell this kind of stuff. Oooooh! It's also against Google Wave's TOS to sell invites. Well, as a law-abiding citizen, I guess I have to report your auction.

Another eBayer calls shenanigans on the whole auction, questioning the existence of the invite in question:

So, it's 8AM PST right now. Google employees don't show up to work until about 3PM. It'll take a while to activate accounts and send out 100,000 invites. Developers who attended Google I/O can't access the beta yet. I'm guessing that right now, at 8AM PST, no one has invites go hand out. Am I correct?

Invites are scheduled to be sent out to developers, early volunteers, and some Google Apps customers today.

When Google first launched Gmail, its free web-based email client, sites like Gmail Swap sprang up to facilitate the exchange of invites. Will something similar happen with Google Wave? As of this writing GoogleWaveSwap.com and WaveSwap.com were still available – entrepreneurs get cracking!

Update 2:58 p.m. ET: A commenter reports that as of 2:53 p.m. ET both of these URLs have been snapped up. Nice job, readers.

Update 3:04 p.m. ET The original eBay auction this post was based on has been removed.

Hat tip to Twitter user @jasmine for the tip.

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For more on Wave: Surf’s up: Google Wave arrives for chosen few

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What's your take? Is selling Google Wave invites OK? What would you pay? Leave a comment or find us on Twitter.

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