Thrown out of Live! Gala for wearing a Google shirt?

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So a few days after the end of eBay Live!, we’ve all got used to the “lower fees” and other promises, and so the gossip starts. One of the stories doing the rounds concerns two guys in Google shirts, apparently escorted from the final Gala by eBay’s security.

The truth of the matter seems to be that two representatives of start-up My Store Space went to Live! on normal conference tickets, intending to (in their words) “promote the launch of” their product. They wore Google shirts which they’d bought from a Google merchandise merchandise website, because it was “the next best thing” to wearing a shirt with their own URL on, and “because our product uses Google Checkout and I wanted to show support for it” (again, their words).

The two were quizzed twice during the day by Gary Briggs, SVP of Marketing for eBay. They were then taken off the dance floor during Kool and the Gang’s set, quizzed again by Mr Briggs, and eventually decided “that I didn’t want to talk to them any more and that we’ll just concede and leave”.

Unsurprisingly, eBay have taken a lot of flack for this action. For myself, I can’t help thinking that if I’d been a paying exhibitor, I’d have been a little miffed that my competitors had come in on a normal conference ticket, rather than paying for a stand: evidently the real exhibitors – who apparently showed much positive interest in My Store Space – are more charitable than I am. And with the well-publicised row between eBay and Google last week (remember, these events are on Day 3 of Live!, when the ‘Google ads pulled’ story has thoroughly done the rounds), turning up wearing a Google shirt was, at best, naive and, at worst, deliberately provocative. How can wearing someone else’s website on your chest be “the next best thing” to wearing your own?!

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