Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
The Almighty Buck It's funny.  Laugh.

Bad Spelling Pays on eBay 525

peebeejay writes "People say that as long as they're understood, spelling is unimportant. These people are unwittingly making others a lot of money online, according to this article in the NY Times (DNA sample and clean boxers required). So, aside from clarity and respect for your reader, there's another good reason to either spell correctly or use a spellchecker: get bidders to find your eBay items and give you their money! Or you can go ahead and see how many people bid on your 'labtop computers,' 'camras,' and 'earings.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Bad Spelling Pays on eBay

Comments Filter:
  • by seidleroniman ( 740696 ) on Wednesday January 28, 2004 @09:38AM (#8111804)
    I'm in shock that the NYT carries this article because it states something so ridiculously obvious: that if you misspell your listing, people may not find it. Its the same reason why when you search for a "labtop computer" on e-bay, you dont find anything. Maybe its just a slow news day?
  • by liquidpele ( 663430 ) on Wednesday January 28, 2004 @09:45AM (#8111860) Journal
    Ebay should use a spell checker like google uses, where it displays a link to a search with the stuff all spelled right.

    I love that feature, since I can't spell worth a rats ass, and I'm suprised a site as big as ebay hasn't already done this.
  • by gowen ( 141411 ) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Wednesday January 28, 2004 @09:50AM (#8111887) Homepage Journal
    No, the article is about people who leach off eBay, by buying misspelled items and selling them at a profit. I'm a genuine buyer, whose own genuine bad spelling has led me to bargains. Thats not the same.
  • by Analogy Man ( 601298 ) on Wednesday January 28, 2004 @09:52AM (#8111911)
    When it comes to tech jargon it is not usually in the dictionary.

    Athelon, Athlon, Athalon, or equally correct but alternative spellings P3, Pentium 3 Pentium III...etc.

    I think I will wait a few weeks and do some bargain shoping.

  • What a role model (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 28, 2004 @10:03AM (#8112006)
    What a role model you must be.

    "It's ok to be a slob on the dole..."

  • by andy landy ( 306369 ) <(aplandells) (at) (hotmail.com)> on Wednesday January 28, 2004 @10:47AM (#8112396) Homepage
    I've always said that the best (and worst) thing about eBay is that it's full of stupid people. It's not just bad spelling that can get you the bargains, often people under-price their "Buy it now" items, or advertise things incorrectly, i.e. "This laptop has a 500MHz processor", but the model number they've stated suggests it's a 1GHz.

    This 'feature' isn't going to go away because the NYT has mentioned it. The problem comes from clueless people, who will still be clueless now! I doubt people deliberately mis-spell items on eBay and now are thinking "perhaps I should spell things correctly from now on"

    P.S. Remember to take full advantage, if you find cluelessness on eBay, "View Seller's Other Items" might be your key to many more bargains!
  • I am uneasy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by paiute ( 550198 ) on Wednesday January 28, 2004 @10:55AM (#8112482)
    At first I enjoyed the stories posted in this topic: "I saw a Rolex listed on eBay under Rollex. Bought it from the idiot for $10, turned around and sold it for $500. What a loser!"

    Then I started to think: what if instead of trying to make a few bucks off of someone's typo, why not email them and tell them about the error? Here on Slashdot there is endless (and justified) ranting about the greed of corporate officers and their PHB minions. But are picking up a dollar off the floor in 7-11 and pocketing it even though you saw who dropped it or pulling these eBay spelling error tricks or laying off 1000 programmers to boost your stock price before cashing in your options not all acts from the same human motivation?

  • by Peyna ( 14792 ) on Wednesday January 28, 2004 @11:01AM (#8112548) Homepage
    Just add a line at the bottom of your listings with all possible misspellings of the main keywords.
  • by hkmwbz ( 531650 ) on Wednesday January 28, 2004 @11:26AM (#8112775) Journal
    "This 'feature' isn't going to go away because the NYT has mentioned it. The problem comes from clueless people, who will still be clueless now!"
    The problem isn't that there will be fewer people misspelling words. The problem is that there will be more people looking for misspellings, so it will be harder to find those nice bargains.
  • Re:You know... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 28, 2004 @11:38AM (#8112927)
    1. What's the point when we have a reg-free link.
    2. I'm sure OSDN doesn't want to sponsor crap-flooding of other online businesses' registration data (who may or may not be partners). It looks unprofessional too.
  • spell casting (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Wednesday January 28, 2004 @12:34PM (#8113525) Homepage Journal
    It's incredible to me that this late in the GUI game, I still can't just select text anywhere in Windows, right-click and select "Check Spelling". Anyone hook this up for GNOME yet?

    At Apple, we developed a "styled text pane" GUI component for a hypermedia documentation browser (not HTML, in 1993) as part of the corporate switch to a C++ toolkit. We threw hooks for spellcheck and themes (a la CSS) into the class, and argued that the component ought to be part of the toolkit itself, for *every* text display in the OS, which would mean every app, entirely standard. I heard that the design was part of Apple's plans right through the demise of the Bento initiative, which drowned our approach like a rat on the Titanic. So now every app reinvents the wheel, and it takes forever to crawl back to steel-belted radials.
  • Re:you mean.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Roydd McWilson ( 730636 ) on Wednesday January 28, 2004 @12:43PM (#8113626) Journal
    Not to mention your use of "WA Post." WA means the state of Washington, whereas the Washington Post is a Washington DC/Virginia/Maryland area publication.
  • by skintigh2 ( 456496 ) on Wednesday January 28, 2004 @01:24PM (#8114054)
    I woke up to the news that some people went canoeing yesterday, during a wind advisory, without life vests, and apparently not knowing how to swim, and one guy drowned. Not to be callous about such a tragedy, but the phrase "survival of the fittest" did cross my mind.

    I think this story beats mine, though.

    The phrase that starts "a fool an his money..." also seems to apply.

    (Oh, and I spell checked this because I'm smart enough to know I'm stupid.)
  • Re:I am uneasy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by teamhasnoi ( 554944 ) <teamhasnoi.yahoo@com> on Wednesday January 28, 2004 @02:55PM (#8114950) Journal
    In my experience, eBayers are not as stupid as you may be led to believe. Yes, there are some true mouthbreathers out there, but there are also some rather sophisticated sellers who *purposely* represent themselves as clueless, in order to move the product without haveing to answer specific questions about it.

    Guitars are a great example: Almost every older 'consumer' acoustic made in the US (by Harmony) that you see on eBay will require a neck reset or brige re-glue, both very expensive repairs.

    By including one picture (straight on to the top, where the soundhole is) and saying, "I bought this at an estate sale, and don't know anything about it - plays good and just tuned!", the seller effectively puts the onus on the buyer to determine its condition in a vacuum.

    Yes, there are many clueless sellers, but I have known owners of music stores who get rid of the 'crap' by doing just this.

    As always, buyer beware. You may be thinking, "This poor idiot doesn't know any better", but there is a good chance that the seller is thinking the same about you.

  • by humankind ( 704050 ) on Wednesday January 28, 2004 @03:17PM (#8115229) Journal
    I think it's a liability for the seller, but a windfall for the buyer. For example, I was searching for a rare item that was part of a series of collectables named after the "millennium". The seller had the product misspelled as "milennium" and had much fewer bids and I was able to pick it up for a fraction of its worth. I guess it depends upon whether you want the buyer or seller to be uneducated. The former works if you're trying to scam someone; the latter works if you're looking for a good deal.
  • by Yakko ( 4996 ) <eslingc@lin u x m ail.org> on Wednesday January 28, 2004 @03:43PM (#8115499) Homepage Journal
    Don't try to extrapolate this to the workplace, but...

    That problem has had a solution for ages. I don't think I'm good at something? Fine; I just don't do it. DONE

    What I find infuriating is those people who would force me to compete even after I've told them to get lost, just so they can have someone to "win" against.

All Finagle Laws may be bypassed by learning the simple art of doing without thinking.