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TK's MORNING BUZZ: Everyone's Getting Into DVD These Days, but Ebay's Half.com Is Really Milking the Machine

18 May, 2001 By: Thomas K. Arnold

There's a new mass merchant in town with his sights set on DVD.

The first e-mail on my computer this morning was from Half.com, online auctioneer eBay's set-price discount "store."

"Come experience the DVD blowout at Half.com -- where you'll find incredible prices on all of your DVD needs," the headline promised.

There were links to take consumers straight to "Best-Selling DVDs for $7.99" and "DVD Players Under $130."

I followed the first link and found a grand total of 76 titles, all of them at least one year old, including The Green Mile, The Sixth Sense, The Beach, Jaws, Galaxy Quest and Snow Falling on Cedars. Click on a title and you're taken to a list of as many as several dozen copies, priced at $7.99 or more and divided into "quality" categories such as "like new," "very good" and "good." Anyone can sell on Half.com, and among the familiar seller names I found: Netflix, the online DVD rental house (so that's where their surplus copies go!).

On the DVD Players page, I found 36 listings, and all of the players were, indeed, priced below $130. Most, however, were used, including a Sony DVP-S330 going for just $45. The catch: According to the description, the player is "Not functioning -- repair estimate indicates it needs a new integrated circuit. Repair should cost $50-$100... Might even be used for parts."

Yes, it seems everyone is getting into DVD these days, but Half.com, to me, is really milking the machine, if you know what I mean. A mass mailing that as far as I know went out to all eBay users -- and who isn't? -- and the best they can come up with is 76 used catalog titles and 36 players that may or may not be broken?

Chalk up another one for brick-and-mortar. No serious threat here.

Comments? Contact TK directly at:TKArnold@aol.com

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