Wednesday, February 03, 2010

I recon the student's virginity auction is a stunt

Like DPF I'm a bit dubious of the student who tried to offer her virginity to pay her fees through the site. The NZPA has this report.
Going, going, gone - a New Zealand teenager has auctioned off her virginity to a stranger for over $45,000 to fund her university tuition fees.The 19-year-old Northland student, who listed her virginity on the website under the name `Unigirl', said the leading bid was "way beyond what I dreamed".

I smell fish. There's no indication that she is even a virgin and she doesn't want to speak to media. In fact there's no evidence she is even a 19-year-old student - she could well be a 35-year-old once married man who will owe a lot of money in child support, for all I know. NZPA hasn't contacted this person and cannot verify her identity. In other words this story is not able to be verified other than what the journalist read on the website.

The site is a little different to Trademe. How do I know - well, I actually rang one of the directors of the site, Murray Arnenson, because I couldn't access the auction. As Arnenson told me, 20,000 other people were on the site at the time to check out this stunt [update: that figure was subsequently found to be false] and the site was taking ages to load. However I can confirm the successful bid amount is stated on the site as I saw it the other day.

But that amount was put there by the seller herself, because that is how the site works. Arnenson has no idea if it is a valid amount - or even if the money has been, or will be, paid. He does not know the person's identity, all he has is this person's e-mail address.

Arnenson claimed not to know about the auction until contacted by the Waitako Times. He considered pulling the auction but decided not to. In terms of bidding, it is a little different to TradeMe, as all bidding is done via e-mail and not directly on site. However once a price has been accepted, the seller can then post that price on the site, which she has done. She also wrote this
Thank you to the more than 30,000 people who viewed my ad and to the more than 1200 offers made
I doubt very much that 1200 offers were made; Arnenson has no idea how many offers were made. He wouldn't,given the e-mail nature of bidding. As a bidder you have no way of knowing what others have bid,how many have done so, or how many times.

The "student" concerned has told Arnenson, by e-mail - that "the deal was done", but has not confirmed that payment has been made. Furthermore, if payment is not forthcoming,the site does not take action.In other words a successful bidder can pull out ( excuse the pun) and there are no consequences for doing so. They can even relist after rejecting a successful bid.

Now, why can't the MSM find this out?

update One media outlet did contact the site owners, but did not appear to have asked many questions.




Blogger Julie said...

Another question that occurs to me is who is Rosie Erceg, who appears from the article to have been the source of the tip-off. How did she find it in the first place? Google is not particularly helpful.

February 3, 2010 at 4:14 PM  
Blogger Swimming said...

I think she was merely a person who looked at the site and happened to bump into the auction.

February 3, 2010 at 7:21 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

Isn't it a bit odd to then contact a newspaper though? The whole media storm would not have happened if she had not told the Waikato Times. She may be genuine, but if this was a marketing strategy or a hoax then wouldn't someone tipping off the media be part of the plan?

February 3, 2010 at 9:32 PM  

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