A Canadian student tried to flog the domain name "tsunamirelief" on eBay. tsunamirelief.com appeared on the auction site for $50,000 but the students mother claims he was only trying to raise relief funds.
Josh Kaplan, 20, was accused of trying to cash in on the disaster and dubbed a "wave rat" by the New York Post on Monday. The domain was initially registered by freelance journalist Michelle Tirado, who had offered the domain for sale on eBay for $99.99 prior to handing it over to Kaplan and closing the auction on 27 December.
Kaplan reinstated the auction - offering to sell the domain for bids in excess of $50,000 - and promising to donate any proceeds from the auction to tsunami relief. Tirado became suspicious that the auction was fraudulent - for one thing it failed to follow eBay's rules for a charitable listing - and cried foul.
The journalist admitted her shock at seeing the domain back up for auction on eBay. Especially as she claimed Kaplan had told her that since he would be using the site to help victims, he would not be able to pay her for it.
Linda Kaplan told Reuters that her son's intentions were honorable. "It was all a gross misunderstanding," she said. Josh was deciding whether to continue with the auction or return the domain to Tirado before news of the listing hit the headlines. Following negative publicity, Kaplan junior voluntarily cancelled the auction.
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