In New York, shoppers have been camped outside the Fifth Avenue store since Sept. 13, including Jessica Mellow, a face and body artist and model who is touting her blog, iPhoneWhatever.com, while wearing a shirt she got free of charge from Gazelle, a company that buys used electronics. Also in line: people promoting mobile banking app Refundo and Apple line regular Hazem Sayed, who is using his No. 1 spot to get publicity for his social media app Vibe.
Last year, Sayed paid a college student $900 to take over her place at the front of the line for the iPad 2. His main motivation then was also to promote an app, AskLocal. In a phone interview, Sayed, who has waited in three other Apple lines in the past, said the nature of waiting in front of the stores has changed over time, with more people these days selling their spots for cash, seeking buzz for their own companies or being sponsored by other brands.
“It would be hard to get the same amount of publicity for a small company like we are in any other way,” the 54-year-old said. “It's certainly worth the week of effort and the week of time.”
For others, it's simply about the money. Hundreds of people have posted ads online offering to wait in line on Thursday night, usually for $100 to $150.