Stanford Pair Win Nobel For Economic Ideas Driving Ebay, Cellphone Spectrum Sales

by Erik Sherman

Going once, going twice—the winners of this year’s Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences are two Stanford economists whose work lets the world make mobile phone calls, switch on a light, and buy and sell on eBay.

Robert Wilson and Paul Milgrom, are famous for their groundbreaking work on auction theory. They took the 2,500-year-old practice of selling goods to the highest bidder and transformed how they worked and how the world looked at a result.

One of the major areas they developed was analysis of how the rules that govern auctions affect the efficiency of the outcomes—how bidders get the value they want, sellers maximize their income, and the process can happen more easily and quickly. Then they found ways to move beyond the fast-talking and gavel-banging stereotype of an auction and into many new types that new rules could enable.

“Sometimes the invisible hand of the

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$9,800 PS5 eBay Lister Makes Bid For Scalper Of The Century

Did you miss your window to preorder a PlayStation 5? It’s probably best you wait until more stock is made available, if eBay is anything to go by. For the princely sum of £7,600 ($9,800), you can buy yourself a standard “disk edition” (sic) PS5–with an extra controller(!)–from a British seller who’s aiming to make the biggest payday in history, and become the most legendary scalper in the south-east of England.

Based on the U.K.’s standard PS5 retail price of £449 ($579), plus the additional controller cost of £60 ($77), the listing boasts an incredible 1,393% mark-up on the recommended retail price. Luckily, the automatically applied PayPal Credit option is gracious enough to allow you to pay in 24 installments of just £359 ($463) per month, equivalent to the cost of 19.6 PS5s at U.S. cost price.

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EBay sent cockroaches, porn and a bloody pig mask to bloggers

One of the most explosive Silicon Valley scandals of all time was a poorly run, easily discovered scheme inspired by a 1980s teen comedy, conducted by a company long past its heyday to harass a mom and pop blog.



a sign on the side of a building: EBay sent cockroaches to a blogger's home last year.


© Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images
EBay sent cockroaches to a blogger’s home last year.

Shocking headlines poured out of newsrooms in June when six former eBay employees and contractors were arrested (and a seventh was arrested in July) for sending a bloody pig mask and cockroaches to a Boston-area couple that operated the tiny publication EcommerceBytes. The US Attorney for Massachusetts provided many lurid details of the scheme, including how eBay staff sent the couple threatening messages, fly larvae, live spiders, and posted the couple’s address to Craigslist to invite swingers to knock on their door “any time of day or night.”

But the New York Times Sunday published a far

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Four former eBay employees to plead guilty in cyberstalking case targeting Natick couple critical of company

The four defendants expected to plead guilty Oct. 8 are Brian Gilbert, 51, of San Jose, Calif.; Stephanie Popp, 32, also of San Jose; Stephanie Stockwell, 26, of Redwood City, Calif.; and Veronica Zea, 26, of San Jose, legal filings show.

The four former employees are all charged with conspiracy to commit cyberstalking and conspiracy to tamper with a witness, according to legal filings.

Their lawyers either declined to comment or didn’t immediately return e-mail messages seeking responses Wednesday.

The defendants are accused of harassing and cyberstalking the husband-and-wife team, sending a host of disturbing items that included fly larvae, live spiders, and a bloody pig mask to their home and traveling to Massachusetts to surveil the couple to make them stop publishing their newsletter, prosecutors have said.

It was a “systematic campaign fueled by the resources of a Fortune 500 company to emotionally and psychologically terrorize this middle-aged couple

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Former eBay Workers to Plead Guilty in Bizarre Harassment Case

Four former employees of eBay are expected to plead guilty for their role in a bizarre harassment campaign in 2019 in which they allegedly sent live spiders, cockroaches, a funeral wreath, and a bloody pig-head Halloween mask to a Boston couple who criticized the online marketplace.

The victims drew attention from the alleged perpetrators after they chastised eBay in an online newsletter that focused on e-commerce companies.

The four defendants, all former members of eBay’s global security team, are Brian Gilbert, 51; Stephanie Popp, 32; Stephanie Stockwell, 26; and Veronica Zea, 26, all from California. The charges include conspiracy to commit cyberstalking and conspiracy to tamper with a witness, with such crimes carrying a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release, a fine of up to $250,000, and restitution.

The cases against three others — David Harville, 48, eBay’s former Director of Global Resiliency;

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EBay activates plan to shift more business to UPS and away from Postal Service because of mail delays

The company said that by the end of September, eBay sellers will be able to print out discounted UPS shipping labels, at a cost up to 62 percent cheaper than typical UPS rates.

For the Postal Service, the loss of eBay revenue could be substantial: A spreadsheet of the Postal Service’s largest customers prepared last spring showed the e-commerce site was agency’s second-largest retail customer, shipping more than 130 million items up to that point in the fiscal year. The USPS generated more than $743 million in revenue from eBay packages in that fiscal year while grappling with a $160.9 billion deficit.

EBay is second only to Amazon, which generated more than $2.3 billion in revenue for USPS during the same time frame, and whose business top Postal Service managers were fearful of losing, The Washington Post reported this week.

EBay facilitates online sales by private individuals and businesses across

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