How much is a Tesla Model S worth? Is it worth your data, for example?

eBay Gives Away Brand New Tesla Model S in eBay Garage Publicity Stunt

Question: How do you get customers to tell you exactly what car they’ve got, so you can market services, parts and equipment they might need directly to them?

Answer: You make it part of an online competition to win a luxury Tesla Model S electric car, of course.

How much is a Tesla Model S worth? Is it worth your data, for example?

How much is a Tesla Model S worth? Is it worth your data, for example?

That’s exactly what Internet auction site eBay is doing right now with a competition that promises one lucky winner a brand new 2014 Tesla Model S. Better still, there’s no purchase necessary.

Of course, nothing comes for free, especially a $100,000 luxury electric car, so how is eBay able to run such a fantastic-sounding promotion?

We’ll explain.

The eBay Garage community?

In order to be eligible to win, eBay requires you to sign in to your eBay account, then tell its ‘eBay Garage’ what type of vehicle you own. Be it a motorcycle or a car, eBay wants you to tell it what vehicles you have, along with details of any modifications or tweaks you’ve had done.

It’s all rather simple. Select your type of vehicle from eBay’s drop-down menu, add the make, model and year, and you’re set to go.

eBay’s Garage is set up a little like a social media community too. You can add pictures of your car, motorcycle or truck, join a specific community of like-minded owners, and even favourite other owners’ vehicles.

Think of it as a Facebook clone for cars.

…but it’s all about data

On the face of it, eBay Garage sounds great. Once you’ve entered your car’s details, you can choose to share it publicly with other eBay owners or to keep those details private. You can easily find new parts for your car or motorcycle. And of course, selling it is just a click away.

Underneath of course, this entire competition and the purpose of the eBay Garage is to find out data about you so that eBay can target ads and eBay listings in your direction.

Tell eBay what car you have, and you could win one of these. But what's the catch?

Tell eBay what car you have, and you could win one of these. But what’s the catch?

For example, what’s the point of telling you about a V8 muscle car if you own a Nissan LEAF? Or what’s the use in advertising a Chevrolet Volt cargo organizer if you drive a Fiat 500e?

Essentially then, eBay is using the guise of a competition to find out more about you and the vehicles you own, so it can better target ads and eBay auctions your way. Because eBay makes most of its money from the commission earned through the auction process, it’s in eBay’s best interests to make sure that as many people as possible see — and bid — for each item on sale.

Worth it for a Model S?

At the end of the day, eBay is asking you, its customer, to trade your information for the chance to win a Tesla Model S. Statistically speaking, we’re guessing the odds of winning it are mathematically insignificant, but if you’re desperate to win what is arguably the best electric car on the market today, it might be worth having a go.

It comes down to one simple question: how much is your personal data worth, and if that figure corresponds to a Tesla Model S?

Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.


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  • Michael Thwaite

    Is that Dennis in the picture there?

  • I already had my car in Ebay Garage, it’s a neat way to keep track of what vehicles show up in parts search.

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