Talk:One red paperclip

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If anyone has any questions, just ask Kyle[edit]

Yep, it's pretty tacky to "discuss" your own wikipedia page, but for real. If you have any questions or comments about one red paperclip, please email me at, and I'll be happy to give you the honest goods about the whole trading deal, usually with press references to back them up. The only reason I'm on here is because I noticed some confusion down below about simple facts, like the current home of the red paperclip, how much money I made off google ads, etc. I'm not going to edit the one red paperclip page, or add to this discussion in any way, but if you have a question, please just ask. Have a great day. Kyle

Notability and Title[edit]

So, first I would like to apologize for creating this article under the wrong title("one red paperclip" as opposed to one red paperclip) and the failures that I had in trying to change that title. I'm new around here. Can I change the title? If so, how? I believe that the website is notable because: 1.I get the impression that it's a fairly popular website 2.It represents an attempt to cause a paradigm shift in terms of how we view value. I'm going to make edits along these longs momentarily KevinPuj 03:38, 14 April 2006 (UTC)


The webpage is actually called "one red paperclip". The title in the browser and the logo are uncapitalized. Do Wikipedia style rules overrule this? KevinPuj 22:12, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

No, they don't. I'll move it right now. ~ Oni Lukos ct 12:50, 8 July 2006 (UTC)

Kyle McDonald says hi[edit]

Interestingly, I created an article on Mr MacDonald himself just the other day. They should probably be merged, though it's arguable whether the blog or the person is the notable feature of this phenomena. -- nae'blis (talk) 21:32, 21 April 2006 (UTC)

I agree, there is repeating information on both pages and it would be best if we had the details on the one red paperclip project on this page. On the Kyle Page we could just mention his involvement and how he started the project or something? -Ablaze (talk) 13:35, 26 April 2006 (UTC)
I disagree that articles should be merged. Both are clearly separate entities - Kyle MacDonald is likely to remain interesting outside the context of the 'one red paperclip' project.

-- I second your thought! Keep Kyle and One Red Paperclip separate. Kyle's got lots more ideas that have yet to manifest, separate from this project.

I've merged the pages. If and when MacDonald becomes otherwise notable, that article can be resurrected, but right now it's just a magnet for silliness by recent editing history. The clue is that there's almost nothing encyclopedic to say about him other than the swap project. --Dhartung | Talk 05:15, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

Is the story real?[edit]

-- Don't you think that the story is all or partially false? Can this be discusses as well in the article? Is it possible that he made more money with the google ads posted in Kyle Mac Donald's blog that with the so called "trade off"? Can these be linked to some other article describing mediatic stories made up for lucrative porpouses like showing publicity or selling merchandise?

-- Kyle hardly made any money from Google Ads - not even close to enough to live on. He would not have survived this past year if his girlfriend didn't help pay the bills, and if his employer didn't fly him to different work related trade shows so he could be closer to people to make the paperclip related trades with. - TW

-- I posted two links to two articles - one from the BBC and one from ABC. Well, on the Kyle MacDonald page. - Anonymous

-- Yes we can add also a link to NBC were they promoted other hoaxes, , obviously this is driven by profits made by publicity in the respective websites. I am not saying that wikipeadia should not have these entries but it should be discussed in full extend by rational people that try to be; even when traditional press is not being able to have the minimal criteria to distinguish fiction from reality. Any voluntary with more knowledge than me in other cases?


There is something wrong with the references in this article.. They are marked in the text but non existent. Theups 16:17, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

I restored the missing references section (it had been removed in an edit dated 01:50, 26 October 2006). -- Zyxw 19:50, 4 December 2006 (UTC)

It should be noted...[edit]

...that this story was also printed in the Reader's Digest, although I'm not sure which issue. -- 06:02, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

its Jan 2007 issue--GravityTalk 13:40, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

Living person[edit]

According to WP:LIVING, IMHO this page should have Category:Living people added, but User:Stemonitis removed it. I've added {{Blp}} on this talk page instead, for the moment. Mark Hurd 15:04, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

Any criticism?[edit]

I don't know if the guy specifically set out to send a message or anything, but it seems to me this was a rather cheesy gimmick (albeit successful, though it probably cannot be duplicated) unworthy of mention.

I say this because it's obvious that the people making these trades were doing it out of the novelty and publicity, not because the trades were fair or rational. Take away the novelty and the press coverage and what would've happened? Absolutely nothing.

Who would trade a presumably neat/decent little fish pen for a red paperclip? No one, except for the novelty or the publicity.

And if the pen was crappy, who would have traded a hand-carved doorknob for it? No one, except for the novelty or the publicity.

And if the doorknob (despite it being "hand carved") was also crappy, who would trade a perfectly functional camp stove (with fuel) for it? No one, except for the novelty or the publicity.

And who the HELL would give a goddamn GENERATOR for a camp store (which, last time I checked, were AT LEAST 50x more expensive) ? ABSOLUTELY NO ONE would , except for the novelty or the publicity.

I'm a bit unsure about the price of kegs/beer IOUs, but I'm reasonably sure that a keg, full or otherwise, isn't as expensive as a ski-doo. And who gave him the ski-doo? Why, a comedian/DJ. I'm sure publicity had *nothing* to do with that decision whatsoever...

I'm not disrespecting MacDonald (kudos to him for managing to pull it off) or anyone who participated per se; I just question the underlying assumption that it's in any way clever or meaningful. Basically, a bunch of people gave him gifts (very favorable trades) which culminated in the gift of a farmhouse. Who cares? I'm tempted to argue that we should remove or severely prune the article, but to be fair it *was* a highly publicized project/publicity stunt--I just think we should correctly identify it as such. I propose we list the approximate resale value of the items (thus positively identifying such ridiculous trades such as the campstove-for-generator) and/or include a "criticism" section. --Lode Runner 00:15, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

I can understand your point of view on the progression of trades, but it does not take away from the fact that this is definitely notable enough to meet the Wikipedia standards for inclusion. The resale value feature would be useful, as long as it was appropriately sourced. The criticism section cannot just be editors putting their opinions in the article. The criticism has to be verifiable. Feel free to get started on the changes you feel are necessary. KevinPuj 02:54, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
I meant sourced criticism, of course. If the story was carried by the mass media, surely there must be a pundit or two who commented on the inanity of it. --Lode Runner 04:38, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
Feel free to. KevinPuj 05:20, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Stove for generator definitely where real possibility ended and luck/artificiality began. (talk) 16:46, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

I disagree, honestly, as y'all are simplifying the heck out of real world value of items, by just thinking of the general market value.

- You might be able to go to the store and buy a thousand red paperclips for the cost of one neat fish pen, true. If you have more pens than you need, however, and just picked up a handful of papers you are having a hard time keeping in order, then you personally would probably consider this a worthwhile transaction. - I used to throw a lot of parties in the Pine Barrens, and my generator helped juice up all the turntables and amps and blacklights and things. They kept getting shut down, though! I don't need my generator anymore and I don't feel like selling it, 'cos it's a lot of hassle...These days I just want to go camping, which is a frugal activity. Only thing I don't have is a camp stove.

With the ease of trading today, real world value and market value are very close for most anyone acting rationally. With small trinkets some people don't value the difference enough to look for a fair deal, but no one wants to trade a decent generator for a decent camp stove. The person who traded was trading for the stove and publicity. Also he traveled considerably in the course of these trades, hosted a blog, etc. he invested much more into it then just the paperclip.

Now usually, the coincidence of wants makes these transactions impossibly improbable. The internet makes a well-publicized and far-reaching trading campaign possible, though, and the size of this new market makes light work of finding someone who wants your thing and has something of greater value to you. (talk) 15:29, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

since when is MSM a reliable source? oh right... it isn't... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:51, 28 April 2015 (UTC)

Similarity to a Japanese folktale, Warashibe Chōja (わらしべ長者)[edit]

This story is similar to a Japanese folktale, that of the Warashibe Chōja (わらしべ長者), who started out with a piece of straw and through a series of incidents ended up a millionaire. See the Japanese wikipedia article. I wonder if he was inspired by this story in some form.--Punchi 01:57, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

I noticed the similarities too, but I could not find an English WP article on it. It would make a great "See also" link. Axem Titanium (talk) 06:43, 23 December 2007 (UTC)
I've added it as a see also link. - M0rphzone (talk) 04:48, 30 January 2013 (UTC)


Wow, Kyle McDonald looks just like Charles Grodin. -- AvatarMN (talk) 07:08, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

Removing 2 paragraphs?[edit]

Re: The three sentences in the history section about the highlights of the meetings and the "random folks who population NA", as well as the reference to Web 2.0. Do they really need to be there? It seems to detract from the 'tone' of the article, it sounds like a personal opinion more than anything. Meszudo (talk) 05:48, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

Return of the clip[edit]

I remember hearing somewhere that the girls he traded the paperclip with framed it and returned it to him. I tried to search for it on google but found nothing. Has anyone else heard about this and can you provide a source ? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:41, 13 July 2010 (UTC)

this is dumb[edit]

So he ended up with a snowglobe that he got lucky with and traded that for the house, he didn't really trade his way up.Nex Carnifex (talk) 19:41, 1 April 2011 (UTC)

I don't understand. How did he not? Through a series of trades, he eventually gets something of better value. He traded for increasingly more valuable things, which constitutes "trading up". - The New Age Retro Hippie used Ruler! Now, he can figure out the length of things easily. 02:33, 4 May 2011 (UTC)

Keeping blog and domain redirection?[edit]


Is it relevant to have two URLs to the same content?

  • [ one red paperclip] blog <!-- also at -->
  • [ Official website]

Lacrymocéphale 17:10, 3 September 2011 (UTC)

I'm going to be bold and remove the link to the blog. LegoKontribsTalkM 04:06, 1 September 2012 (UTC)

Capitalization pt.II[edit]

Shouldn't the title be "one red paperclip" (without capitalization) as per the paperclip website? Regards, --Gott (talk) 15:29, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

Time travel?[edit]

There seems to be a problem with dates on numbers 7 and 8.

Within a week of that, he traded the snowmobile for a two-person trip to Yahk, British Columbia, in February 2006. On or about January 7, 2006, he traded the second spot on the Yahk trip for a cube van. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:58, 28 March 2015 (UTC)