The story of Live 8 would not be complete without mentioning the controversial issue of ticket touts that erupted shortly after the SMS messages confirming the winning lottery tickets were sent out.
More or less immediately after the winners were texted on their mobiles, with instructions as to how they could claim their tickets, tickets started appearing on the Internet auction site eBay.
Bob Geldof, mastermind behind the Live Aid and Live 8 concepts, blew a fuse, and went on a phenomenal media tirade against the traders, labelling the the auctioning of the tickets "a disgrace", and describing auction site eBay as "Electronic pimps".
At first, eBay refused to back down, pointing out that auctioning tickets was perfectly legal. Geldof, ignoring the question of legality, continued his media rampage against eBay, claiming that "It is completely against the interests of the poor. The people who are selling these tickets on websites are miserable wretches who are capitalising on people's misery."
The biggest sabotage action in eBay history
Geldof, and other pressure groups, immediately called for sabotage actions against eBay. Hundreds of fans immediately took his cue, bidding several million pounds for each ticket, effectually invalidating eBay's bidding system.
eBay became one of the largest moral battlegrounds in recent times - and received a substantial amount of media attention as a result. At first, the company said that "We are allowing the tickets because we live in a free market where people can make up their own minds about what they would like to buy and sell. A ticket to the Live 8 concert is no different from a prize won in a raffle run by another charity and what the winner chooses to do with it is up to them."
Their statements created an uproar among its members, and the eBay UK management eventually backed down, claiming they were "not setting moral precedent". According to inside sources, however, the choice was purely economical: "We had so many fake bids and fake auctions that we had to bring in people to work extra shifts to deal with it", says an eBay UK employee. "There was just no way we could have kept up against such a force for two weeks. It was easier just to reject the auctions altogether".