eBay is cracking down on people it thinks are trying to take transactions off its site, but its bots are often missing the mark with costly consequences. Online seller and AuctionBytes blogger Bob has some advice on how to avoid being falsely accused, demonstrating the absurdity of the lengths eBay has taken to keep sellers in line.
eBay is mercilessly tracking down sellers who it thinks are trying to sell their items off eBay. They are using a new species of bloodthirsty bots that seek out any hint that a seller is sending or receiving messages that suggest that they are selling off eBay. eBay is then, apparently without trial or human oversite (though they claim otherwise), suspending those sellers.
This is because, as we all know, eBay's problems have nothing to do with poor management, their abusive treatment of its best customers, its minefield of glitches or its far-less-paranoid competitors. Nope. It's all about dishonest sellers who steal nickels and dimes from poor, victimized, eBay.
Several of these accused scoundrels have complained that their messages might have had keywords that could suggest an off-site sale, but that wasn't the intent (such as measurements being mistaken by bots as phone numbers).
Here are some suggestions on how to keep from being falsely accused by these mysterious bots. First, do not use any numbers in your communications. And to be safe, don't use any words that could be mistaken for numbers like; won, to, too, for or ate. And it's best to avoid any words that might contain a word that could be mistaken for a number like; ofTEN, phONE, or asiNINE.
Also, avoid any word that might refer to an off-eBay sale and any possible play on that word. Do not write buy or bye. Do not write sell or cell. Do not write cent, or scent, or sent. And, definitely, do not try to sell a Johnny CASH cd or a Louisiana PURCHASE history book.
And here's a tip for those unscrupulous sellers who actually do want to sell off eBay. It's now necessary to use a code to communicate with buyers. You might choose Pig Latin. Now, some older folks know Pig Latin but younger pups probably don't. That's good because most programmers are younger pups!
There are actually several forms of Pig Latin. The most famous was devised by the great linguistic team once known as The Three Stooges. Here, you take the first consonants of any word and put them at the end of that word. Then, and here's the tricky part, then add 'ay' to the end of the word. Words that begin with a vowel simply have 'ay' added to their ends. So, Pig Latin would become Igpay Atinlay. eBay would become eBayay (unless eB-ay is already in Pig Latin, in which case, they're onto us!).
I could just see those virtual bots, steam escaping from their virtual ears, getting all e-confused and cracking into each other in cyberspace while trying to figure out this devious code. Added bonus! Watch as your autocorrect goes nutty.
About the Columnist
Bob has been buying and selling online for almost 20 years. Some experts claim that his limited budget was the major cause of the 2001 dot-com crash. He denies the charge.