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I heard Stephen Fry tell this story, so it must be true: when Louis Daguerre invented photography, one of the first things he did to celebrate was to persuade a local barmaid to pose for some topless photos. The association between photography and naked ladies has been there from the beginning, so perhaps we can forgive eBay for making the connection too.

Doug’s been researching photography for sale on eBay. He says “the search results returned a variety of items for sale – mostly pictures of celebrities, nature, and vintage images. I was actually surprised at how few dirty pictures showed up in the search results,” and swears he never clicked on anything naughty. But the next time he went back to browse eBay, here’s what greeted him:

naked ladies in eBay/Photography

As Doug says, what’s his wife to think?

A search for doesn’t show up any great number of naked lady gallery pictures. Searching for “photograph”, in the other hand, turns up a fair few “fine art nudes” and some frankly pornographic ones (is anyone policing this?!). But there are plenty of other photographs on too: why show Doug this particular selection? I can only assume that this is an unintended result of Best Match: eBay are perhaps suggesting the most clicked-on items within the categories you’ve been searching – so now we know what eBayers are looking at ๐Ÿ˜‰

5 Responses

  1. I am somewhat disappointed that this particular image has no “Click to embiggen” link.

  2. I was using the Ebay Labs best match optimizer this evening for some, non naked photos we listed. The best additional key words for “Vintage Photo” are “nude”, “pin” (presumably as in pin up) and “risque”. Yes I think we know what a lot of people are buying in the photo category. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Ohh – nice bit of supporting evidence, well done Ken! So “Photograph” really is a pseudonym for “Porn” in Best Match ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

  4. That is so NOT fair, I tried to replicate those results and got presented with a page of Planes & Boats ๐Ÿ™

  5. I listed some car stereos on Amazon a while ago & they kept recommending books of ‘erotic nude’ photos. After my (now ex-)manager & I both accused each other of using the work account to check out porn, it turned out they were recommended on the basis that most car audio buyers also buy ‘erotic art’, apparently. Or my manager really was into nude photos, one or the other.

    Could be a good cross-marketing opportunity for someone, who knows?



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