eBay bans Confederate Flags then promotes them

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Is Confederate Flag Southern Flag Patch Red  Blue White worth another lookI’ve just received an email from eBay with the title “Is Confederate Flag Southern Flag Patch, Red / Blue White stars worth another look, Chris?” That’s a bit of a surprise.

Just three days ago eBay put out an announcement saying “Effective immediately: “.

They went on to explain “We believe this image has become a contemporary symbol of divisiveness and racism. Our decision is consistent with our long-standing policy that prohibits the sale of items that promote or glorify hatred, violence and intolerance“.

eBay Confederate FlagThat’s why I’m a bit surprised to receive an email three day’s later saying “Chris, would you like to take another look” at a “Confederate Flag Southern Flag Patch, Red / Blue White stars”.

For the avoidance of doubt I looked at some confederate flags when researching an earlier post I wrote about the ban, not because I want to buy one – don’t worry I haven’t suddenly turned into a racist overnight. What’s surprising is that whilst eBay have been busily cancelling listings with the flag, they’ve forgotten to put a block on their marketing for the same (in eBay’s own words) divisive and racist symbols.

This is one of the things that we at Tamebay would love to see eBay getting better at, once the distraction of divorcing PayPal is complete. Doing half the job of banning the products is one thing, but promoting the same products to your customers after the ban just looks incompetent. It’s appears that no one remembered that eBay’s automated marketing would kick and ask eBay users if they’d like to reconsider making a purchase and that’s got to change.

Marketing should be relevant and up to date, otherwise what’s the point?

Updated 23:00hrs to add

eBay have been in touch to confirm that they do indeed apply filters to their emails and other marketing channels. Unfortunately there is still a risk that a prohibited item, especially one which they’ve recently taken action on, may get through. That’s what’s happened with the email that I received.

eBay tell us that they are in the process of removing listings and continue to update their filters across marketing tactics and would also like to remind readers that they can report listings as well by clicking on the “report item” link within the listing.

17 Responses

  1. Only EBay could go to the trouble of telling you their system is not working properly.
    They would probably have been better confirming that they hadn’t updated it all yet.
    There is also the possibility that they are continuing to market products thinking that anyone receiving the email would possibly want to buy one last time before they all disappear.

  2. “Items depicting the confederate battle flag” – does this also apply to historical books about the American Civil War, or what about those hugely popular, even today, Dukes of Hazzard model cars? Is the General Lee now banned? Yee-ha, not.

  3. ebay on ebay …. “occasionally things slip through the net, or go wrong, and we try to fix them when we can”.

    ebay on sellers… “you couldnt satisy 100% of the people 100% of the time? you’re filth and deserve punished.”


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