Invitations to use Google's new collaboration tool, Google Wave, have quickly become a hot commodity -- a fact that's hardly gone unnoticed by people looking to make a fast buck.
Much like a Gmail invite was a valuable must-have back in the Webmail service's early invitation-only days, people are falling all over themselves to nab a ticket to use Google Wave. Say what you will about Google, but sometimes it does hype right.
Google sent out 100,000 invitations to its buzz-heavy new platform for communicating and collaborating, which is nowhere near the apparent demand. Baltimore native Hagan Blount posted an invite on eBay on Tuesday evening (not only did he not have his invite yet, but he was counting on a friend to give him one), according to the Wall Street Journal. Blount, who told the Journal that he fielded offers as high as $27,000, was asked by eBay to take the auction down.
"I'm sure somebody flagged it for a terms-of-use violation because they didn't think of the idea," he said.
EBay is going to be sending out a lot of those messages over the next few weeks. At last count, there were about 50 Google Wave invitations on eBay, with one fetching a price of $102.50 with 2 days left in the auction. Of course, that generous seller is throwing in a Google Voice invitation for free.
And eBay auctions aren't the only way people are trying to take advantage of the popularity of Google Wave, which has been available to developers since June. Security vendor Websense issued an alert Wednesday noting that "Websense Security Labs ThreatSeeker Network has detected that Google searches on terms related to Google Wave return results that lead to a rogue antivirus."
According to Websense, three of the top ten results for a Google search on "how to get Google Wave invitation" were links to sites hosting malware. Hackers know a hot commodity when they see one.It's worth pointing out that search king Google doesn't exactly have a flawless record in drumming up massive demand for its products. Google's one-year-old Web browser, which will serve as the foundation for its Chrome operating system, has claimed less than 3 percent of the browser market. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (not that he's biased or anything) told TechCrunch this week that Chrome's market share is a "rounding error."