Press – Forbes.com
The Most Outrageous Stuff Sold Online
The Most Outrageous Stuff Sold Online Mary Crane and Maureen Farrell 10.31.06, 12:00 PM ET When Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban wanted a jet, he went online. For $41 million, Cuban got what he logged on for: a Gulfstream GV, delivered to his hangar.
Back then, in 1999, consumers spent a wee $25 billion over the Internet. Since then, online retailing has exploded at a 35% annual clip, to $176 billion last year, according to a report from online retailing association Shop.org and Forrester Research. The most popular categories were travel (at $62 billion), followed by computer hardware and software ($14 billion), autos and auto parts ($13 billion), apparel ($11 billion) and home furnishings ($8 billion).
The online market for jets may be a bit smaller–as is the demand for entire islands, lunar real estate and Soviet tanks from World War II. But that doesn’t mean someone isn’t trying to peddle this crazy stuff online.
To wit: A set of three islands, covering 1,100 acres, is available for sale on vladi-private-islands.de. According to F. Vladi, the site’s owner, l’Isle du Nord is a steal at 6.5 million euros ($8.2 million) and is “only ten minutes by helicopter from downtown Bordeaux.” The islands come complete with a small village, three manors and a vineyard that can bottle 228,000 bottles of your own personal wine every year.
Looking for a little more adventure? ExtravaGift.com offers “extravagant gifts for everyone”–including submarine rides to the Titanic. Fork over $36,650 and you’ll descend 12,465 feet beneath the sea aboard one of only three commercial submarines that can reach 20,000 feet without crumpling under the pressure.
Those who lean lunar have options online, too. For $32, the New York-based Lunar Registry will sell you an acre in the Sea of Tranquility–“the moon’s most prestigious location.” All 850,000 customers who have bought real estate on the moon received a personalized deed on parchment, a satellite photograph of the plot and enough information to help locate the property by telescope.
Our favorite over-the-top online item: Bond. James Bond. TheBlueFish.com offers the “ultimate 007 experience.” Seventy-five thousand dollars buys you a stay at the actual Monaco suite used in several James Bond movies, private driving lessons with a Formula 1 driver, a speed boat chase, a mock kidnapping to the “Octopussy” yacht, dinners in Moscow, a private tour of the Kremlin and a top-secret trip to Zhukovsky Air Base for flight training exercises in a military jet. Beats the heck out of watching the new Bond flick in a theater this month.
To be sure, final negotiations of some of the larger purchases such as boats and planes tend to be handled offline. But just in case you were wondering, you can use a credit card to buy your chance to meet Tony Bennett in London for $44,000 through one of Sam’s Club’s “once-in-a-lifetime” packages.
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