The early 2000s were quite an amazing time for our humanity as they marked the discovery of the internet and some of the things that can be done with it. Many people never understood the concept of online shopping, that was at least until 2006 when an Australian by the name of Isaac Butterfield put up the country New Zealand for sale on eBay.
Today, Isaac Butterfield is a comedian who loves to make fun of New Zealand, this was something that he has always sorts of done and is quite good at, however, something else made him famous. To understand where this story started from we need to go back to the teenage years of Isaac Butterfield, a time when even Issac didn’t quite understand how the internet worked.
A joke taken too seriously
So in 2006, he decided to put up New Zealand for sale on eBay in a one-month auction at a starting price of 0.01 Australian dollars. The sale only included a picture of New Zealand’s flag and a description stating an official sale of the whole of New Zealand. Some people actually took this very seriously and the auction reached $3,000 before being stopped by eBay.
The government of New Zealand acknowledged this and publicly stated that the country was not for sale. Many of the data about the auction does not exist anymore as eBay deleted everything about the event in order not to bring bad publicity as it was the main online selling platform at the time.
An eBay spokesman from Australia by the name of Daniel Feiler made sure to tell the public the way products are reviewed by the company and why the “New Zealand” auction had been taken down:
“Clearly New Zealand is not for sale,” eBay Australia spokesman Daniel Feiler told the New Zealand Press Association, adding that 22 bids had been made before the company acted. “There are the occasional quirky items put up,” he added. “We have a look at them and if they are OK we leave them. But if it is something that can’t be sold, we take them off.”
A joke that was brought back in 2019
Interestingly enough, Isaac Butterfield wanted to bring this story back to life. Some of you may actually know him as he has a YouTube channel with 1.6 million subscribers where he often jokes about New Zealand.
In one of his videos, he even talks about the incident from 2006 and also saying that eBay had no right to “shut him down.” In 2019 he created a GoFundMe page where he was trying to sell New Zealand once again. Although the platform is used to raise money for charity cases or different projects, it does not say that you cannot sell anything.
As shown in the screenshot above, the website soon closed the fundraiser when they saw that this whole thing was actually a joke and with this incident, they also changed their policy making it very specific that users are not allowed to sell things through GoFundMe. All the money raised on the site went to various charities chosen by Issac.
He is still planning to someday sell New Zealand.
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