It's the mother of all record deals, and it has nothing to do with Madonna inking a contract last year with Live Nation (NYSE: LYV).

In one of the largest transactions ever on eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY), a retiring record-shop owner has found a buyer for his collection of nearly 3 million vinyl albums, singles, eight-track tapes, and CDs. The winning bid came in a smidgeon above the $3 million starting price for the auction. The buyer has already put down a 10% deposit, so it doesn't appear to be a bogus purchase.

One could argue that a better strategy would have been to dispense with what the seller dubbed the "World's Largest Music Collection" in smaller lots. The record collector could have set up a Web page, paying pennies a click to generate leads through Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) or Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO). He could have set up a merchant account through Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) and sold his wares piecemeal. Who knows -- maybe he tried these venues. If so, that only goes to prove eBay's effectiveness. Besides, those other methods may have proved too time-consuming for someone bent on cashing out and enjoying his golden years.

eBay should be shouting about this transcation from its Web-rendered rooftop, because it's a reminder that eBay works. The company has gone through a revolving door of marketing campaigns to help grow its domestic listings lately, but few things could as emotionally effective as seeing someone securing a retirement nest egg through using the service.

I already had one nasty brush with eBay's marketing arm, so I'm hesitant to even look in that direction again, but why isn't eBay riding this success? I have mixed feelings about the current "Shop Victoriously" ad campaign, which features ads such as an awards-show setting with a young lady winning some rickety telescope. Even if the items are largely unattainable, eBay would be better served by showing the exotic cars, Gulfstream jets, and this $3 million record collection in its ads to position itself as an aspirational experience. Imagine:

  • "eBay, it can happen to you."
  • "eBay. It works."
  • "Dream an eBay dream."

Why not? eBay has tried to position itself as a fun place to shop, and it hasn't panned out. It has tried to position itself as a practical place to shop, and that hasn't panned out, either. Aim higher, eBay. There are records to be broken. Roughly 3 million of them, if this particular deal incurs a bumpy shipment.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a satisfied eBay user, with 173 positive feedbacks to show for it. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is a member of the Rule Breakers analytical team, seeking out the next great growth stock early in its defiance. The Fool has a disclosure policy.