This Diabolical Hipster Hoodwinker Almost Sold a Bag of Brooklyn Air for $20,000

Then eBay stepped in to stop the madness

The auctions site tries to police scammers.

An eBay user this week diabolically played on people's love of all things Internet—where silly things often rise up #FTW—while trying to persuade any random rube to buy a Ziploc bag of air for as much as $20,000.

Here's how the apparent swindler went about his or her business: While satirically winking at the fact that the hipster-friendly Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, N.Y., has become a cost-prohibitive place to live for most people, this anonymous eBay user posted a bag of air for sale from the neighborhood earlier this week, according to the blog Brokelyn. Bidding started at $40, per Brokelyn, before escalating with a lot of back-and-forth bids until it reached $20,100 late on Thursday.

A few other blogs picked up on the development, and then eBay caught wind of it and removed the item earlier today. The online auctions company told Adweek the offer was taken down because it violated the eBay policy that states for-sale postings must include "physical items or actual services." It's unclear whether the user has a history of scams. 

It seems to be a meme within a meme, referencing bags of air from a Kanye West concert in March that people bid up to $60,000 for before eBay removed the listings. 

More than anything, it appears to be The Hipster Scam to End All Hipster Scams. 

Think about it, theoretically. You create an ironic eBay item with a baggie worth as much as the lint pulled from the pocket of a thrift-store jacket, colluding with friends who have high credit-card limits. He bids, she bids, he bids, she bids, letting the total escalate and creating buzz in the blogosphere. Then, some poor choad with an Amex card decides to become "part of the moment" and ups the bid. Cue radio silence from the aforementioned colluders until the auction ends, which, in this case, would have been Monday. The bidder gets stuck with the huge bill, and the colluders split the loot.

This kind of behind-the-scenes coordination actually seems less far-fetched than multiple people bidding five-figure sums on a bag of air. 

Whether or not such a fraudster could ever completely get away with it is difficult to know. Though there are so many eBay postings every day, it's possible that he or she could slip through the cracks. 

The only other likely scenario could be that it was modern art for the digital era, an existential exhibit, if you will. But man, that'd be pretty lame. 

Either way, this hipster hoodwinked plenty of people in an elaborate manner.

Ah, you kids, you think of everything. 

Adweek Blog Network