Gmail Invitation Prices Crash

The bottom has fallen out of the market for Gmail invitations.On Monday morning, invitations to join the testing of Google’s Gmail Web e-mail service were still fetching as much as $100 on eBay closed auctions. By Wednesday afternoon, sellers were lucky to crack the $20 mark.Increased supply is the likely cause. Until now, Google has been relatively stingy with new invitations. But the company seems to have opened the floodgates. Several Gmail users reported that they had received six invitations over the past two days.Google representatives did not comment by press time.

Since Google announced Gmail on April 1, would-be users have clamored for accounts with the service, which offers an innovative interface, a powerful search function and 1 GB of storage. The trickles of new accounts that Google released hardly met the raging demand. Some would-be testers plunked down hard cash on eBay — as much as $200 — for an account, while the cash-starved made more creative offers on sites such as gmail swap.

Now the go-go days seem to be over. Sean Michaels, gmail swap’s proprietor, said the price drop is a boon.”I’m glad that the market value has decreased,” he said. “It encourages original, entertaining and creative swaps, not mundane, high-ticket items. It’s a lot easier to decide to swap for a ‘personalized fairy tale’ when the market value of an invitation is $5, not $50.”

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