Having had two separate eBay auctions to sell his rare Xbox Live gamertag yanked off the site for apparent terms of service violations, a New York State man is now moving his business to Craigslist.
Earlier this week, as first reported here, Chris Graziano had put his gamertag, "Hitman," up for auction on eBay. Graziano, a student at SUNY New Paltz, had been hoping to capitalize on the rarity of the moniker to score a big payday, and indeed, in the hours after his auction went up, more than $500 was bid for the gamertag.
"Don't bid on this item if you don't want to be the center of attention of every game lobby you're in," Graziano wrote on the original eBay ad. "You'll regularly hear comments of 'You're the original Hitman?' and 'Wow, how did you get that gamertag?!'"
But eBay wasn't amused and quickly pulled the auction, claiming that the attempted sale of the Hitman account violated its ban on the traffic of virtual goods and assets, Graziano said.
"EBay doesn't allow the sale of virtual items," Graziano said eBay told him in an e-mailed explanation. "This includes--but isn't limited to--online game characters, accounts, currency, codes that can be redeemed for in-game items, and related software."
Undaunted, Graziano felt he had another way to approach the problem. Rather than selling the account itself as a purely digital good, he figured that he could probably attract buyers by offering up an Xbox memory card--a physical item--that just happened to contain all the data associated with the Hitman account.
"This is an auction for my memory card," Graziano wrote in his second eBay auction. "I used the memory card to bring over to my friends' houses in case we played Xbox Live online. So on the memory card along with a few saved games and rosters is my XBL gamertag. I'm not selling that since Microsoft owns the rights to it, but it is on the memory card. I recently purchased another year of gold service, so whoever wins the auction will be able to play using the 'Hitman' gamertag...People sell a year of gold service all the time on eBay, so now you have it on the tangible form of a memory card.
"Just like if you were selling a computer on eBay, you sell the computer, and with it comes a hard drive with random stuff." Graziano continued. "I'm selling a memory card. With it comes saved games, sport rosters, and my XBL Gamertag--Hitman. It's a pretty cool gamertag by the way. No extra letters or numbers. I was an XBL beta tester years ago and was one of the first to sign up, so I got the most popular phrase used in gamertags all by itself, Hitman. This memory card along with its contents would be great for any hardcore gamer looking to steal the spotlight in all of his online games."
But yet again, eBay disallowed the auction, this time at the behest of Microsoft, which bans the sale or redistribution of any part of the Xbox Live service.
EBay did not respond to a request for comment.
Now, despite getting some unsolicited offers for the gamertag of several hundred dollars, Graziano is determined to get what he thinks could still be four figures for the account. As such, he has offered it for sale once again, this time on Craigslist.
"I'm trying to sell this memory card I have for Xbox 360," Graziano's new Craigslist ad begins. "On the memory card, along with a few saved games and rosters is my XBL gamertag. I'm not selling that since Microsoft owns the rights to it, but it is on the memory card. I recently purchased another year of gold service. So while I may not own the gamertag, I do own the right to use this gamertag on XBL for the next year as long as I abide by their terms of service."
While it's too early to tell what will happen to the post on Craigslist--a representative of that service did not immediately respond to a request for comment--it stands to reason that Microsoft will once again pull rank. Graziano's attempt to, oh by the way, include the gamertag with the Xbox memory card is similar to efforts by some to auction off tickets to the 2000 World Series between the New York Yankees and New York Mets by including the tickets for free with a Yankees cap.
EBay had pulled all such auctions at that time because of restrictions on the site against scalping tickets.
Graziano is aware that Microsoft may tire of his persistence and simply unilaterally close his Xbox Live account.
"That's what makes me want to just take an offer now and run with it," he said.