Ambiguous Policies: Many of eBay policies are not very clear. In fact, if you keep hitting reply and asking the same question about a policy, each reply will have a different section pasted in the document for you to read. It seems that the interpretation is open… This is especially confusing when it comes to one area of selling on eBay: Nudity on eBay.
I personally collect, and therefore sell, vintage men’s magazines. All of these magazines are 1940s through mid 1960s. Some of these magazines have nudity, some are pin ups. When I buy these items as estates etc, I often wind up with vintage nudist magazines mixed in these lots or stacks. Some of these are airbrushed, some are not. Now the difference between the two magazines is the original intent of the publishers —
Men’s magazines were sold to men, for the primary purpose of titillation. The nudist magazines were published to promote & educate on the lifestyle choice of nudists. As such, the photos are not designed to be sexual. Of course, there are some pretty nude women in there, but there are also families sitting around the pool, and some less than beautiful people as well…
The men’s magazines are (usually) deemed OK to sell in the Collectibles areas of eBay, just at pre-1980s Playboys are – they are not graphic. But the nudist publications? Oh no, those must go into Mature Audiences. (Which I personally find offensive as there are photos of families & children in them, and they were not – nor are they now – designed to excite sexually. By putting them in Mature I feel that I am doing something wrong, — especially when that category prohibits the sale of child pornography. So much so, it bans the use of the words “children,” “child,” “Lolita,” etc.)
But to place nudist magazines on eBay in the Collectibles category (where true collectors are looking &/or bidding on them), you risk being booted. I know. I have been suspended for a 30 days for doing so.
The only place you can sell them on eBay, inappropriate as it seems, is the Mature Audience category.
Mature Audiences: This category on eBay is a complete mess. In order to keep out minors, who according to eBay policy are not allowed to bid or buy anyway (they cannot enter legal binding contracts which bidding & buying actions are), eBay has a lock on the Mature Audience category.
Sure, it seems benign enough, smart even. But how the process works is that you have to hunt to find the category, then when you click to enter it, you get a warning, and you must agree that you are legal, not offended by adult materials, and not going to hold eBay responsible if you pass out while viewing the items for sale. Once you agree, you have to find your way back to the Mature Audience category, and start again.
It is now, for the first time, that the subcategories will show up. And you must be in that category to do searches – a search for “all of eBay” does not include Mature Audiences even when you are signed in – at least not consistently.
Again, this may not seem like a royal pain, but it is for 2 reasons:
#1 Your agreement is temporary. It wears off, and you don’t know it until you see the restricted warnings again.
#2 This second login often locks you out as a seller. For some reason, their system of Adult Cookies is not compatible with the cookies used for members or sellers. Which means you cannot search for similar items when selling to get comparisons for items you are selling, while you are listing. (Oh, and you cannot do a search for past sales on Mature Audience Items.) All of which makes for a difficult time selling in the category.
Other restrictions on selling adult materials are no “Buy It Now” & no PayPal.
All this for a category which is policed enough for illegal items, such as child pornography, bestiality etc.
The bottom line is, all these restrictions hamper buyers from finding items, as well as deter actual sales.
You might say that eBay has a right to be “a family friendly business.” And yes, it is their right. But frankly, they are happy to take the listing fees & get no sales, aren’t they? That money is as “unclean” as a sales transaction – only more evil as they know what the odds are; it’s akin to stealing.
I personally think they ought to just end the “offensive” categories, and stop the confusion.
For more on eBay’s treatment of sellers of adult items, read here.