Fore Sail, Cheape: Bargains on Ebay, But Spelling Is OptionalBy Diana Jean Schemo
The New York Times -- When Holly Marshall wanted to sell a pair of dangling earrings, a popular style these days, she listed them on eBay once, and got no takers. She tried a second time, and still no interest.
Was it the price? The fuzzy picture? Maybe it was the description: a beautiful pair of chandaleer earrings.
Such is the eBay underworld of misspellers, where the clueless -- and sometimes just careless -- sell labtop computers, throwing knifes, Art Deko vases, camras, comferters and saphires.
They do get bidders, but rarely very many. Often the buyers are those who troll for spelling slip-ups, buying items on the cheap and selling them all over again on eBay, but with the right spelling and for the right price.
John H. Green, a jeweler in Central Florida who sells by the name toecheese1, is one of them.
He once bought a box of gers for $2. They were gears for pocket watches, which he cleaned up and put back on the auction block with the right spelling. They sold for $200.
“I’ve bought and sold stuff on eBay and Yahoo! that I bought for next to nothing” because of poor spelling or vague descriptions, Green said.
David Scroggins, who lives in Milwaukee, also searches for misspellings. His company provides entertainment for weddings and corporate events, and microphone systems for shows at Wisconsin’s casinos. He has bought Hubbell electrical cords for a tenth of their usual cost by searching for not only Hubell but also Hubbel. And he now operates his entire business by laptop computers, having bought three Compaqs for a pittance simply by asking for Compacts instead.
No one knows how much misspelling is out there in eBay land, where more than $23 billion worth of goods were sold last year. The company does flag common misspellings, but wrong spellings can also turn up similar misspellings.