Usually, the Internet takes information that once was costly or difficult to find and makes it free. But once in while, netizens find a way to take something free and convince other users to pay for it. That’s what’s happening with Google’s new Gmail program, which will be free once it’s rolled out later this year but is currently available only to a select group of beta-testers. Each tester can invite a few friends to sign up for their own Gmail addresses – which come with a gigabyte of free e-mail storage – and there is now a brisk trade on eBay for these Gmail beta accounts, according to a Reuters story today. Bids for addresses such as email@example.com were going as high as $30 as of mid-day Tuesday. Humor site TheSpoof.com, meanwhile, has published a satirical story headlined “Woman Offers First-born Child for Gmail Account.”
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