Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sat Nov 19 2022 22:16:28

eBay Rethinks Part of Its Book Banning Policy

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay will no longer restrict the accounts of sellers who list banned books on its marketplace, though it will continue to remove listings of books it finds violate its Offensive Materials policy.

eBay did not widely publicize the change in policy that took effect on Thursday. Rather, it came in response to a thread on its discussion boards started by a seller who said eBay restricted his account for selling books by Dr. Seuss, a book about knives, and an OJ Simpson title.

The seller wrote in part: "As a seller of 50 + thousand titles at any given moment, we cannot avoid listing things that are banned. In 3 months, I've had my account restricted with a suspension 7 times now for listings "hateful" items, and we cannot get a list of items to not list from eBay. I cannot find anybody at eBay that can give me a list of things that I can't list."

Like the original poster, sellers responding to him on the thread wondered why eBay had no list of titles that it banned and most felt it was unfair to restrict sellers accounts for listing items they didn't know were banned. 

A moderator initially advised sellers to look through eBay's help pages for prohibited items as well as to do their own research before listing, but sellers said that wasn't satisfactory advice.


We have shared this topic with our Policy Team and they have a big update they wanted to share with everyone:

"We heard your feedback, and we're making changes to this immediately. 

Starting Thursday, November 17, if you have a book removed under eBay's Offensive Materials policy, there will not be a selling restriction.  

We don't want you to have to try to figure out which book titles could be considered offensive or not, or worry about a selling restriction because of this. If we find a book title we don't allow, we will remove it and let you know, with no penalties or further action needed on your part. 

We appreciate your feedback on this issue which helps us continue to make eBay a trusted and inclusive environment."

Sellers praised the new policy, though as of the evening of November 19th, the original poster did not return to provide an update on his situation. 

eBay did not post the policy change on its Seller Announcement Board.

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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Rethinks Part of Its Book Banning Policy   eBay Rethinks Part of Its Book Banning Policy

by: lessthanthreerecords This user has validated their user name.

Sat Nov 19 22:34:39 2022

This is a good change for once.  Unfortunately, that change was not communicated so well when they said,

"We don't want you to have to try to figure out which book titles could be considered offensive or not, or worry about a selling restriction because of this."

Yes, not getting your entire account restricted is definitely a major step in the right direction.  However, as a seller who has had quite a few listings ended that I honestly felt (and still feel) were within eBay's rules, I must say, this does not rule out the need "to figure out which book titles could be considered offensive".

Yes, the removal of one listing is not the same level of concern as an entire account restriction, but still, I've got several thousand dollars worth of inventory that is collecting dust since it cannot be listed.  It would have been nice to know that BEFORE I spent the money on the inventory.

The complete list of banned materials is needed just as much now as before this new rule took effect.

Perminate Link for eBay Rethinks Part of Its Book Banning Policy   eBay Rethinks Part of Its Book Banning Policy

by: GetAGrip This user has validated their user name.

Sun Nov 20 06:22:21 2022

Its not about Ebay rethinking anything. ITS ALL ABOUT THE BOTTOM LINE.

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Nov 20 08:06:14 2022

"we cannot get a list of items to not list from eBay. I cannot find anybody at eBay that can give me a list of things that I can't list."

Because the people running eBay have the same IQ as a dead rat

You are simply asking too much from the San Jose Mafia!

Perminate Link for eBay Rethinks Part of Its Book Banning Policy   eBay Rethinks Part of Its Book Banning Policy

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Sun Nov 20 12:28:46 2022

The only thing I've ever had banned was mercury thermometers and F-14 ground support equipment.

eBay banned US Military manuals and that was a bummer, I was buying them cheap, now I have to go to surplus stores to get them.

Perminate Link for eBay Rethinks Part of Its Book Banning Policy   eBay Rethinks Part of Its Book Banning Policy

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Nov 20 14:07:12 2022

At least its safe to know that there will ALWAYS be one book (title) that you will always be able to find on the site aka - "eBay For Dummies" (written by the biggest dummy there is)

I know Ill sleep better at nite ... will you?

Perminate Link for eBay Rethinks Part of Its Book Banning Policy   eBay Rethinks Part of Its Book Banning Policy

by: Willabill This user has validated their user name.

Sun Nov 20 17:13:32 2022

They should now do the same thing for LP records. I was kicked off for two weeks for listing an LP record I did not expect to be restricted.  

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by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 21 00:22:37 2022

well that is good to know, but their policies and enforcement is still wacked.  i tried to list a 1947 army manual on the M1 carbine and was stopped when i hit the list button.  currently there are about 15 of them up on the site and they have sold regularly over the past 3 months by other sellers.

more concerning to me is amazon has apparently sent the price bots free on the collectible category.  tried to list a book there and it wouldn't even let me list it unless i priced my fine signed copy the same as the low ex-library copy.  thing is there were higher priced ones listed.

Perminate Link for eBay Rethinks Part of Its Book Banning Policy   eBay Rethinks Part of Its Book Banning Policy

by: Alexdgr8 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 21 01:17:14 2022

Yup, I had a comic book taken down. I checked for  other listings to see if it could be listed and since I found easily a dozen others like it listed and SOLD I went ahead and listed mine.
Several days later I got an nastygram from ebay saying it was removed and not to try listing it again. I double checked and although I listed it under the same categories as the others with the same item details, etc. mine was the ONLY taken down.

Just for grins, I reported the others and found 2 weeks later they were still lisited AND SELLING.
How you figure?!

Perminate Link for eBay Rethinks Part of Its Book Banning Policy   eBay Rethinks Part of Its Book Banning Policy

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Nov 21 01:29:44 2022

The seller of that thread was being treated VERY badly by Ebay.  I think it is fantastic that Ebay stepped up and said they would no longer do this.  

Perminate Link for eBay Rethinks Part of Its Book Banning Policy   eBay Rethinks Part of Its Book Banning Policy

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 21 07:04:16 2022

Its just ANOTHER case of the do nothing eBay execs, pretending to actually work.

"See we fixed the problem!"


LMAO - they did not !

Perminate Link for eBay Rethinks Part of Its Book Banning Policy   eBay Rethinks Part of Its Book Banning Policy

by: teufelwolf This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 21 13:03:16 2022

Years ago I tried to list Ott's Guide to Growing Shrooms. Ebay said it was illegal drug paraphelia under USCode Something.Something. - called the DEA - they said no book with an ISBN is legally paraphelia. Ebay would not budge even though the same title could be sold on half . com
When I posted about it on the forum I got about hundred replies calling me a "junkie".
Now I can't list insulin pen needles because ebay says they are drug paraphelia - but they can not used used to inject IV drugs and are sold OTC everywhere. And like other users - I find dozens of other sellers are selling them.

Perminate Link for eBay Rethinks Part of Its Book Banning Policy   eBay Rethinks Part of Its Book Banning Policy

by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 21 14:55:10 2022

@Alexdgr8

what surprised me is that i wasn't even allowed to list it, the listing page stopped me with a big red warning when i hit the list button.

Perminate Link for eBay Rethinks Part of Its Book Banning Policy   eBay Rethinks Part of Its Book Banning Policy

by: Shanna This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 21 18:25:11 2022

Won't be long before someone complains to eBay that the Bible is offensive to them, so eBay will ban the sale of them.

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by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 21 20:55:16 2022

@Shanna

don't tempt me, lol

Perminate Link for eBay Rethinks Part of Its Book Banning Policy   eBay Rethinks Part of Its Book Banning Policy

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Nov 22 12:44:52 2022

@pace306

And how do you know they didn't fix the problem?  

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 22 16:38:04 2022

Shana - if you read the other posts - you can see that there are still listing issues - ie it hasnt been solved.

In eBays quest for more sales - they tinkered with it on the margins - thats about it.

Perminate Link for eBay Rethinks Part of Its Book Banning Policy   eBay Rethinks Part of Its Book Banning Policy

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 23 09:10:05 2022

Marie

Are sellers still experiencing fake Vero issues?
Are sellers still being "played" by GSP?
Are sellers still experiencing slow pay days ?
Are sellers still blocked from selling refurbs?
Are sellers still getting D- overseas CS help?
Are sellers still being forced to create eBays catalog for free?

I could go on and on - but the answer is - YES - eBay is still doing all those bad things - BUT I GUESS YOU ARE RIGHT - eBay went in and fixed THIS ONE THING - cause ya know - they were "wrong and they knew it needed to get resolved".

The emperor still doesnt have new clothes.

I know you feel that I believe that EVERYTHING they do is evil - and you would be right.

Most eBay employees have ZERO experience in sales, online sales, catalog sales or even in the categories they are in charge of. I used to meet them at trade shows (before they slinked away after being heckled). Your pet cat knows more about online selling then the average eBay employee - so how could ANYTHING get "fixed"?

If eBay fixed just %50 of all the bad rotten nasty things they do to sellers - David and Ina "would go out of business" - as there would be nothing to write about. No one would write in - everyone would be busy making sales and when an issue arose - things would get resolved. You would simply call in to eBay and they would look at the facts. If you were right, then eBay would simply "make good".

Its like the stupid argument over buyers that bid but dont pay. Why in 2022/2023 is there even a discussion? Like every where else - when you create your account you like a cc or bank account and when you bid those sources are drawn from. POOF - no more topic. But when you have the mental capacity of a dead cockroach (eBay) you simply cant wrap your mind about doing the RIGHT and simple thing - you leave it all for sellers to deal with (as if sellers can even make it happen). Like with payments you make sellers chase after their own funds.

If you believe that eBay "fixed" this issue - then god bless and enjoy your turkey - but I think that most SEASONED (no pun intended) sellers know that eBay reacted to an issue and "put a bandaid on cancer" - just to say "we did something".

Perminate Link for eBay Rethinks Part of Its Book Banning Policy   eBay Rethinks Part of Its Book Banning Policy

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Nov 24 02:02:52 2022

@Pace

This are all off topic.

Are sellers still experiencing fake Vero issues?
Are sellers still being "played" by GSP?
Are sellers still experiencing slow pay days ?
Are sellers still blocked from selling refurbs?
Are sellers still getting D- overseas CS help?
Are sellers still being forced to create eBays catalog for free?

Perminate Link for eBay Rethinks Part of Its Book Banning Policy   eBay Rethinks Part of Its Book Banning Policy

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Thu Nov 24 11:37:27 2022

@pace306

"I know you feel that I believe that EVERYTHING they do is evil - and you would be right."

Over 10,000 employes will be able to put FOOD on the table this Thanksgiving because of eBay!

And that's not counting the millions of sellers who will be able to do the same.

Take your bitterness and have a large helping for desert today. You can be Thankful you didn't need eBay to enjoy it. . . . .

Perminate Link for eBay Rethinks Part of Its Book Banning Policy   eBay Rethinks Part of Its Book Banning Policy

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 24 13:44:23 2022

@Marie

You asked if eBay fixed this issue - I handed you at least 6 issues - older ones - that were never fixed.

HERE, you believe them ????????? I have a bridge connecting Manhattan to Brooklyn available - cheap - interested?

@Pace

This are all off topic.

Are sellers still experiencing fake Vero issues?
Are sellers still being "played" by GSP?
Are sellers still experiencing slow pay days ?
Are sellers still blocked from selling refurbs?
Are sellers still getting D- overseas CS help?
Are sellers still being forced to create eBays catalog for free?

These are all issues plaguing sellers - most for a LONG time - any comment, please?

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