Fast Company

Valentine's Day Is for Blood Elves (and Other Bizarre eBay Trends)

Why is Valentine's Day a big day for online gaming? eBay's new mobile data trends for 2010 raises interesting questions.

eBay Valentines Day

eBay has put together an interactive map visualizing the data from its mobile users. Among the weirder findings? Valentine's Day sees a significant spike in gaming purchases, perhaps a reflection of promotions from World of Warcraft and other online role-playing games.

That, at least, is the assessment of eBay's Richard Brewster-Hay, who called attention to the mobile trends recently on his blog. Other interesting findings? Sports memorabilia sales reached highs in Canada in February, thanks to the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, while Germany went nuts over the World Cup in June and July, even though it placed third. Fashion has also come to eBay's app in a serious way; clothing was one of the top categories in Canada, France, Australia, Germany, the U.K., and the U.S.

You can fiddle around with eBay's interactive heat map here; it's not the prettiest thing, representing sales as green gas clouds that look like something a Batman villain would use to terrorize Gotham City.

eBay heat map

But back to this bizarre Valentine's Day spike for gamers. Apparently, there's a years-old tradition of special V-Day-related events on World of Warcraft and other online games. Check out this hilarious spoof of the iconic De Beers ad. "What do you get the blood elf who has everything?" asks text accompanying the spoof.

It's unclear whether the Valentine's Day gaming rush is a defiant rejection of the need for actual, human love, or whether it's a reflection of the real-life relationships that have been occasionally kindled via massive multiplayer online environments. Either way, it's brilliant--and good business, if eBay's data is any indication.

[Image: Flickr user alarzy]

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