A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

platinum shopping from the comfort of your own ADSL connection

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on November 7, 2008

Its been three weeks since I last posted about the Telecommunications Ministry’s auctioning of “platinum numbers” – three weeks in which the Ministry has evidently been hard at work:

platinumeauction

And while I don’t understand the “turn to the back page of the supplement” instruction (perhaps the print edition came with an advertising insert?), I can tell you that the advertisement is no joke.

That’s right: not only is the Ministry promising e-auctions, it has made them a reality. The first online auction ended on Thursday, with 77 700 700 selling for $17,000. The current auction, for 77 60 60 60, will end next Thursday; bidding currently stands at $3,800.

Interested in joining the next auction? You can register until Tuesday to bid on 77 77 77 74 by going here. All you need is a debit/credit card from a Lebanese bank. Just remember: only serious bidders, please. As the e-Auction instructions remind bidders: Please note that presenting any misleading personal data, refusing to buy the number won, and/or harming in any way the e-Auction concept, will lead to immediate banning from the e-Auction participation as well as appropriate legal action.

Do not harm the concept – good advice for many situations.

Part of me thinks that this whole thing is rather silly: with all the real issues that Lebanon needs to address, why is the Ministry catering to the Lebanese fashion for “pretty” numbers?

But if the revenues raised by people willing to spend $17,000 + taxes for a mobile number is in fact used for social services work, as Bassil has promised – lowering the cost of land lines for people with lesser incomes, installing additional public pay phones, etc. – then I think this is a great idea. While there is “no sense throwing good money after bad”, as the saying goes, there is much sense in harnessing silly money for the greater good.

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