Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon Jan 28 2019 11:34:34

eBay Crackdown on Black Americana?

By: Ina Steiner

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Last week sellers found they were unable to relist items in the Black Americana category on eBay. A reader told us he'd been selling Daddy's Long Legs dolls on eBay for several years, but when he went to relist them on Thursday, he got a warning message.

He called eBay and customer service said the term that eBay considered offensive was "Black Americana." To be clear, eBay has a Black Americana Collectibles category under Ethnic & Cultural Collectibles.

We found several threads on the eBay boards from other sellers unable to relist items in the Black Americana category. One seller who has been listing a series of "Famous Black American" posters for years on eBay said they received the following Error Message when trying to relist them:

Relist your listing
It looks like there's a problem with this listing.
Your listing includes a term not permitted under our Offensive Materials policy. Please see our policy here for more information.

The eBay policy states sellers can't list reproductions in this category, but the seller emphatically stated their posters are original.

Another seller trying to relist Thomas Blackshear figurines reported the same problem on this thread.

Is it a new crackdown, an unannounced policy change, or a glitch? eBay moderators have yet to provide an answer in threads asking for an explanation of the policy warnings.



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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Crackdown on Black Americana?   eBay Crackdown on Black Americana?

by: Iwishiwaskidding This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 28 12:41:02 2019

Ebay has had some SJW leanings over the past few years.  Donations to left wing activist groups.  The boards hired a diversity monitor.    My guess, someone decided the category was offensive without bothering to communicate where you can now list those items.   Hopefully they wake up to how bad that whole political philosophy is for business.  

Perminate Link for eBay Crackdown on Black Americana?   eBay Crackdown on Black Americana?

by: a_c_green This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 28 13:01:50 2019

> Is it a new crackdown, an unannounced policy change, or a glitch? eBay
> moderators have yet to provide an answer in threads asking for an explanation
> of the policy warnings.

To be fair, this all blew up over the weekend, and the eBay contacts who are active in the community forums (fora?) are generally only active on weekdays.

Regarding the Black Americana posters (which was a set issued by Nabisco years ago, of which the seller had many uncirculated copies), the listing that was being blocked from upload was clearly not derogatory in any way, as anyone can see, leading to this most likely being some screening software that totally fell down on the job.

It seems to have a hair-trigger scoring reaction to certain keywords that appear too often in the text, but instead of submitting the suspect listing for human review, it simply blocks the upload altogether, and sends the seller a reprimand complaining of problem words without, of course, revealing which ones they are.

Perminate Link for eBay Crackdown on Black Americana?   eBay Crackdown on Black Americana?

This user has validated their user name. by: NoMoreEbay

Mon Jan 28 14:24:55 2019

New day, new change.

Don't know why they even bother with fall, spring updates anymore. Just change it to daily update or in some cases, hourly update.

Perminate Link for eBay Crackdown on Black Americana?   eBay Crackdown on Black Americana?

by: Michael in BC This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 28 16:29:14 2019

I searched on "Black American postcard", and got 7.772 active listings. Under "sold", I got 2,478.  I've found that the most active buyers of Black American postcards are those of Black American heritage.  

Perminate Link for eBay Crackdown on Black Americana?   eBay Crackdown on Black Americana?

by: plcombs This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 29 08:31:02 2019

and yet again eBay displays their abject ignorance of the collectibles market. They sure understand what SJW's and the nuts on the looney left want. What's next Civil ar memorabilia?  

Perminate Link for eBay Crackdown on Black Americana?   eBay Crackdown on Black Americana?

by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 30 14:52:46 2019

I'm not sure they are doing this on purpose, probably their idiotic algorithm acting up

Perminate Link for eBay Crackdown on Black Americana?   eBay Crackdown on Black Americana?

by: Whatever This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 30 22:23:33 2019

Just list it on your website and move on

Perminate Link for eBay Crackdown on Black Americana?   eBay Crackdown on Black Americana?

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 30 22:59:27 2019

Their artificial intelligence is genuinely stupid.  This is just another on a longstanding list of examples.    

Perminate Link for eBay Crackdown on Black Americana?   eBay Crackdown on Black Americana?

This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Thu Jan 31 02:09:49 2019

A story circulating in the news is of a restauranteur who was asked to remove a framed vintage photo of Welsh coal miners enjoying an after-work beer because a patron took offense at the coal dust on their faces and interpreted it to be black face. It didn’t stop there—an Arizona op-ed was published by the offended in which he described in some detail the dastardly deed. Urban bullshittery enabled and validated by eBay.  

Perminate Link for eBay Crackdown on Black Americana?   eBay Crackdown on Black Americana?

by: biglouis This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 31 04:17:36 2019

The poster who stated that their artificial intelligence is genuinely stupid'' has hit the nail on the head.

I recently attempted to list a number of Indian (as in Asian) artifacts in a category for Asian collectables. I kept getting a warning about Native Americana. The only way I could list these items was to describe them in the title as ''India xxx'' rather than Indian.

On another occasion I could not list an item with the description Assyrian because the bot thought I was using ADULT (as in ass) language.

Perminate Link for eBay Crackdown on Black Americana?   eBay Crackdown on Black Americana?

by: Barbbie This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 31 09:26:57 2019

Amazon delisted one of my items yesterday, a necklace with a tiny beer mug hanging from it, seems this is "offensive". LOL. I don't know who these people are who are offended by this.
Ebay is on sears now (some sellers are) Sears will delist anything pans because they supposedly contain "fur", costume props, anything for any dumb reason.  Maybe ebay decided to listen to sears.
Who knows what other crazy decisions are awaiting us in these marketplaces.


Perminate Link for eBay Crackdown on Black Americana?   eBay Crackdown on Black Americana?

by: Davina T This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 31 09:31:45 2019

Golliwog Dolls ? Black dolls ? Little Black Sambo books ? What's next ? Aunt Jemima ?  Magazine ads featuring black families.  Al Jolson ?  I enjoy Black Americana, and intend to buy more of it.

Perminate Link for eBay Crackdown on Black Americana?   eBay Crackdown on Black Americana?

by: epuise This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 31 09:33:48 2019

Those who know not of HISTORY are doomed to REPEAT it...
Can't sell Nazi or KKK or Civil War Flags or Black Memorabilia...
No wonder today's 'kids' don't know about The Holocaust, or how Slavery ripped families apart and denied basic rights to human beings, or how citizens of the same land killed each other... No wonder we have low info intellectually incurious voters... The simple fix is to allow all items of history on, w/ a red banner warning that browser must click, acknowledging SOME may find images, etc., disturbing... Problem solved...  

Perminate Link for eBay Crackdown on Black Americana?   eBay Crackdown on Black Americana?

by: rainbowcolorz This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 31 11:24:05 2019

The whole thing is absolutely absurd!   I'll never forget the Sambo's restaurant on Miami Beach I used to go to every morning for a great endless cup of 10¢ coffee (plus 1¢ tax).  They had delicious food, the place was clean and they were there for ages.  Someone complained (thinking little black sambo) and the next thing you know, everyone there lost their jobs, the place was closed down and .. well, I still have my Sambos wooden coffee nickle to remember them by.  

Hopefully eBay will get its act together and allow these cute little dolls to be sold.  

Perminate Link for eBay Crackdown on Black Americana?   eBay Crackdown on Black Americana?

by: StumbleBum This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 1 17:10:14 2019

Followup, turns out none of the listings contained offensive material.  The category was changed to reject ads when the items were listed as NEW instead of used.  The error message did not reflect the actual issue.  

Some eBay fool had the intelligence of a burned out light bulb and decided no one could possibly have new/old stock.  They have absolutely no clue or any ability to get one when it comes to understanding the ramifications of even the simplest change.



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