Craigslist, eBay fighting Michael Jackson scalpers

Craigslist and eBay are full of offers of tickets to the pop singer's memorial service--some with an asking price of thousands of dollars for a pair. But are the tickets worth anything?

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

Humanity knows no depths.

On Monday, Craigslist and other sites were adorned with many of those lucky to have won tickets to Tuesday's Michael Jackson memorial service celebrating their good fortune--by trying to sell the free tickets.

On Craigslist's LA site the bereaved are brazenly asking buyers to take away the burden of their pain. One, for example, wanted $2,000 for two tickets. His posting, however, has been flagged for removal.

As, it appears, have most, if not all related postings on Craigslist and eBay.

Naturally, many of these posters knew this might happen, so, in a pre-emptive strike worthy of a paparazzo, they have put their phone numbers and e-mail addresses into the headlines so that the grieving and the gullible can contact them directly.

While some of those who were not lucky enough to score tickets are posting requests craving the indulgence of others, might one just wonder whether these are equally squalid scoundrels who, if someone took pity, would merely try to sell the tickets on?

Several Craigslist posters have, however, made reference to a Los Angeles Times blog post that suggests that even if people buy tickets, they won't be able to get in. This poster, for example, prints the blog post in its apparent entirety.

The post quotes Michael Roth, a spokesman for AEG, the company that was organizing Jackson's 50 London concerts and is organizing the service, as saying: "Several apparent ticket holders posted intentions to sell the tickets on eBay, but Roth warned that the security system in place will prevent anyone from doing so."

Roth makes very clear the layers of security that have been put in place: "In addition to the vouchers received via a special code, ticket holders will have to show a valid driver's license, and those whose IDs do not match the registration information will be eliminated as guests.

But then there's the case of Rob O'Sullivan. O'Sullivan, from Houston, Texas, was featured on NBC's "Today Show" on Monday (video embedded here). He decided to enter the memorial service lottery as "a lark." He won.

However, he is unemployed and cannot afford to go to LA to pick up the tickets. So he put the tickets up for sale on eBay for $15,000. Then he says he dropped the price a little.

Interviewed by Meredith Viera, O'Sullivan explained that his daughter needs heart surgery and he therefore believes it reasonable to try to sell these tickets. He also said he would offer a money-back guarantee if, for some reason, the buyer could not pick up the tickets.

Is his case different? Perhaps you can decide.