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Google I/O conference sells out in 20 minutes

Profit-hungry scalpers flock to eBay

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Tickets for Google's annual I/O developer conference have sold out in less than 20 minutes, and scalpers have already taken to eBay to cash in on the show's popularity.

Google has run the I/O conference since 2008, and this year's show is scheduled to take place in San Francisco on June 27 through 29 – the first time the show has been stretched to three days rather than two. Tickets went on sale Tuesday morning at 7am Pacific Time and hits on the website hit 6,250 queries per second, the demand was so great.

"While we're overwhelmed with the interest and enthusiasm around Google I/O, we know it can be very disappointing and frustrating when an event sells out this quickly," said Vic Gundotra, senior vice president of social business at Google on his Google+ page.

In order to make up for the lack of tickets, Gundotra said that the company would stream keynotes and main breakout sessions as they happened, and would make individual session videos available online within 24 hours. The company would also support viewing parties around the world.

Google I/O has become one of the top developer conferences on the calendar, in part because of its importance to developers of Android, Chrome, and – to a much lesser extent – Chrome OS. The Chocolate Factory also shows off its latest creations and hands out coding samples to give developers a head start on new apps.

Some delegates are also motivated by the freebies that come with a conference ticket. Last year, for example, attendees got a special edition Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1-inch tablet, as well as a Chromebook from the Korean box-shifter. The previous year, Google handed out free Sprint EVO 4G phones and an additional handset – Verizon Droids for US developers and NTC Nexus Ones for non-US visitors.

Needless to say, scalpers got wise to the popularity of the event, and eBay already has tickets on offer with mark-ups that even Apple would draw the line at. Google raised the standard ticket price to $900 this year, double last year's early-bird discount price, but auctions on eBay are already offering them for up to $4,500 apiece. ®

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