We're all adults here

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So, the missing auctions are down to a typo. Like most conspiracy theories about eBay, the explanation turned out to be rather less fun than the fantasy, though I think it does show why peer to peer support works so well. Ask Griff why your listing isn’t showing up, and he has to go away and think about it; pose the same question on the Community Q&A board and you’ll have an answer within minutes.

The conspiracy theorists might have been disappointed, but this little saga does bring up another very important point: why the hell do eBay just hide auctions with ‘naughty words’ in them, rather than giving you a big red notice when you try to submit them saying ‘you can’t say expletive-deleted’? If they can manage to warn sellers of brand names that it’d better be authentic or else while they’re listing, surely they can manage to tell sellers of ornithology books that mentioning blue tits is likely to get their listing buried? (And yes, that one really did happen.)

It’s particularly bad for sellers in the music categories who are using Muze’s prefilled item information to populate their listings: import a song title with the word “fuck” in it, and eBay’s own system will both put the naughty word in, and exclude you from search results.

And frankly, I think it’s about time they published the naughty words list too. Every other policy on eBay has a list of examples of what you can and cannot say, so why not this one? After all, according to the user agreement which says you have to be over 18 to join eBay, we’re all adults here.

2 Responses

  1. Something else worth noting is that clicking on ‘relist’ or ‘sell similar’ with the naughty words removed curiously results in the new listing being ‘invisible’ as well. As in the example above, I was affected by this when the prefilled item information in a CD boxset that I listed contained inappropriate words. As soon as I figured out what happened, I relisted it with the item specifics removed – but the relisted item didn’t show up either. I was only able to list it successfully by creating a new auction from scratch.



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