mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Fakin' it on eBay...

A couple people in the online auction forum at Fatwallet have posted links to this NY Times article on eBay fakes.

Lots of fake stuff gets sold on eBay, and certain manufacturers - like Tiffany - aren't happy about it. Tiffany is suing eBay, saying that they are making a profit off fakes, while eBay points out that since they don't actually see the merchandise, they have no way of knowing if it's a fake unless someone who actually knows - like the manufacturer - tells them it is.

I tend to side with eBay on this one - they really DON'T have a way of knowing what is or isn't fake, or a way to decide.

I sell on eBay, but almost everything I sell is computer parts, so I don't have to worry about people thinking they are fake or competing with competitors selling fakes. But I have had eBay pull one of my auctions - for a brand-new-in-box computer with LCD monitor - because they claimed I put pirated software on it. In reality, the software came with the computer, and I had never opened the box - but I used the term "preload" - an industry standard term for the software that comes preinstalled - and they cancelled it. I had to relist, with a more explicit description, but it meant that I had money tied up in a machine for longer than I would have liked to - and it meant that people who had bids on it were also inconvinienced.

So my thought process is that eBay already overreacts, so more "protection" probably means even more auctions ended that shouldn't have been. And eBay has already announced that they are adding a "report this item" button to all auctions. This means that competitors can easily report auctions and get them ended for nonexistant violations. eBay already has a "shoot first, ask questions later" policy on VERO complaints, and additional monitoring would make it even worse.


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