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eBay targets 'hoax' Live 8 bidders

eBay suspends the accounts of users who heeded Live 8 organizer Bob Geldof's call to swamp auctions of tickets for the concerts.

LONDON--Internet auction site eBay has suspended some of the accounts of users who sabotaged online sales of free Live 8 concert tickets by making hoax bids of up to 10 million pounds.

On Tuesday, eBay ended a sale of free Live 8 tickets after widespread protests. Concerts organizer Bob Geldof labeled the site an "electronic pimp" and urged people to swamp it.

"In accordance with eBay's site rules, once an individual places a bid on an item, it acts as a binding contract and the individual is obliged to honor it," eBay said on Thursday.

"New eBay members placing multiple malicious bids from accounts clearly set up with the sole purpose to hoax bid are being suspended immediately."

Tickets to the star-studded London show, which aims to pressure world leaders meeting next month into fighting poverty in Africa, were given away to the winners of a text message lottery.

The July 2 show comes 20 years after Geldof's Live Aid concerts, which raised money to help the starving in Ethiopia.

Other concerts will be held in Paris, Rome, Berlin and Philadelphia on the same day. A sixth is scheduled for July 6 in Edinburgh -- the day the leaders of the G8 group of industrialized nations start their summit.

More than 2 million text messages were sent by people hoping to get tickets in the draw.

Performers for the London concert include U2, Paul McCartney, Coldplay, Madonna, REM and a re-formed Pink Floyd.

Story Copyright © 2005 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.