01/13/2017 at 9:03 pm #10230
I frequently find my listing descriptions cut and pasted into the listings for identical items offered by other sellers; not surprising, as I put a lot of effort and research into them. This is usually done with a slight price cut meaning that I lose the sale.
Today I found a listing for another seller’s item where my text had been stolen word for word with absolutely no original input, not even a format change. I use a fairly unique writing style so there is no doubt of authorship. I messaged the seller via eBay’s internal messaging system asking them to re-write the listing in their own words. They responded immediately with “F*$* off!”. Charming. I called eBay and they said they would take immediate action because of the obscenity. Fortunately for me, the other seller used that word in eBay’s message system; otherwise, I would have had no recourse.
eBay’s rules are murky on this subject because they have no way of knowing who wrote the text first. Since you can’t watermark your words like you can pictures, I don’t know how to protect text that I’ve written. eBay’s rules regarding “intellectual property” seem to apply only to things that have been formally protected which doesn’t seem to apply to listing text.
Anybody else experiencing this problem? How do you deal with it?
- This topic was modified 8 months, 1 week ago by cheryl5678.
01/14/2017 at 8:00 am #10253
Glad you called eBay. I’m not sure what the rules are, but I imagine that copying photos and listing is a no-no.
I know Amazon FBA sellers deal with this issue as a matter of course. But then again, Amazon builds in this competition because everyone shares the same photo/description. eBay is nice for sellers because you;’re supposed to be able to separate yourself from the crowd with good presentation.
–how do you find the people who plagiarize?
–Is it a couple people who copy multiple items?
–in a given week, how many items are duplicated elsewhere?
–Are these on single items or listings where you have multiples.
We found one guy who copied our listing exactly. Photos and description. It was just some junky hat. The guy was just lazy. We don’t actively search for these acts of plagiarism so they could be happening often.
The fact that we write very little in our description these days means there isnt much to copy. If they use our photos then they run the risk of the buyer being angry because the item they get isn’t exactly like whats in the photo.
01/14/2017 at 9:03 am #10257
I suspect ebay’s “sell similar” maybe makes this sort of plagiarism pretty easy? Don’t know for sure, I’ve never really used it.
Most of my stuff has pretty basic descriptions, so I wouldn’t care, but sometimes I do a lot of research and I wouldn’t want to see that plagiarized. But if I found someone copying I think I’d probably just let it go. I’d have to see some clear dollar value in pushing it.
01/14/2017 at 9:33 am #10264
I do it and ignore it when it is done on my previous listings. Like you, some of my listings I take a lot of time to get everything accurate and describe in a way to make it stand out. Most of the items I sell a commodity items. Yet I have some truly vintage items that are very hard to come by. Its the Amazon format. And eBay is heading that way more and more each day. If I copy someone else’s description, I make it my own. Generally its just a template to get going on my own thoughts.
Anger just zaps your energy. Which could be better put to use listing, buying or enjoying life.
01/14/2017 at 9:53 am #10267
Also, if it is any consolation: “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.”–Oscar Wilde
01/14/2017 at 1:54 pm #10276
We have had people and even Ebay use our photos for their listings. We contact the individual and inform them they need to change their photos as the ones they are using are not of their product and we will contact Ebay and let them know. That being said Ebay has used some of our photos as their own as well and we have had to contact Ebay and ask them to remove them as well. We do this only for photos as that is what the customer(s) will see and we do not want them to get the wrong impression of an item. Also we use certain backgrounds that just stand out and we do not want a future customer to associate a Ebayer that used our photos with us as they might have had a bad experience before hand. As far as titles and written content goes we have no problem with someone using our words for their listing. There is after all only so many ways one can describe an article of clothing/toy/game and so forth. Yes, truly unique items I can somewhat understand, but for everything else I do not see the harm in it.
01/14/2017 at 3:41 pm #10279
Thank you everyone for your input. Guess I’m just old school when it comes to plagiarism. Of course, I don’t mean the inclusion of relevant details but the creativity and personality that many sellers work hard to create. Loss occurs when someone else gets the sale using MY words! I’m not losing sleep or wallowing in anger but I am human.
Jay, to answer your questions…I don’t actively seek plagiarized listings. But I research almost every item I sell and in the process, often look at other sellers’ listings. That’s when I stumble across the plagiarism. The problem seems to be rampant on eBay because no seller has the time or tools to police their own work and the ethics bar has been lowered to the point that some people see nothing wrong with this. (I’m remembering every grade school and junior high teacher continually repeating “keep your eyes on your own paper”!)
There’s no objective way to know how often this occurs but I find theft of my own work at least once or twice a month. It is most likely to occur on unique items that are challenging to describe. A bit of humor, a clever phrase or a colorful description can really help sell these items and those words are the most recognizable when they are stolen. (Again, I’m not talking about size, dimensions, fabric, color, etc….generic things you must say to describe an item.)
Just imagine the legal consequences if I decided to launch a campaign using a phrase such as “You Deserve a Break Today” or “It’s the Real Thing” or “A diamond is forever”! Words can be a powerful part of advertising and should be protected whether you are McDonalds, Coke, De Beers or a lowly eBay seller.
01/14/2017 at 3:56 pm #10282
You’re completely correct. People shouldn’t plagiarize listings. I guess my attitude is that we are careful picking our battles.
Yes, large corporations definitely protect their trademarks and intellectual property. They also have expensive lawyers who toil away playing wack-a-mole chasing counterfeiters. They have more resources than we have to spend time doing this.
Unless I say a big sales drop because of people copying our listings, we just focus on listing new items.
01/14/2017 at 4:01 pm #10283
Your point is well taken. I guess we all have to decide for ourselves where to draw the line at what is or is not acceptable. Sometimes, I hate being an adult! 🙂
01/15/2017 at 9:43 pm #10373
I recently found a seller copying and pasting word for word my own researched and written description. I’m a believer in well researched keywords and inserting them throughout the listing description, so I spend sometimes 10 minutes researching/writing them (with visible results for traffic and sales). Being a bit of a justice warrior, I messaged the seller with a link to my listing and called them out for ripping my own words and template straight up. Their response was about the same, denying it and telling me to mind my business, haha…I was minding my business. It is in eBay policies that stealing other seller’s photos or words is not allowed, I was not able to get them to honor that but they referred me to sign up and fill out a VERO form, the dreaded word itself made me forget the whole thing ever happened, but that’s a solution if you guys ever get tired of this issue. The less Amazonian eBay becomes the better, keeps originality and creativity at the core of why it’s a great platform. It’s good to stand up for that.
01/17/2017 at 9:57 pm #10593
Many years ago I had someone use photos from a website I ran on a WW2 submarine. They were selling something related to the sub and they actually used my picture url to link my pictures directly into their listing. Right or wrong, I changed the pictures they used on my website to…well…very graphic pornography and those pictures showed up in their listing. I then reported them to ebay.
01/17/2017 at 10:47 pm #10596
Great solution! Unfortunately, my thief stole only the text so it seems there is nothing I can do. The fraudulent listing is still up a week after I complained. eBay probably did slap their hand for the obscenity but that didn’t bother me nearly as much as seeing my work being used to sell their item. This person clearly knows the game and knows they can get away with this.
01/18/2017 at 5:20 pm #10658
I always use my own photos I do copy and past text usually only from sold items. I use sell Item from sold listing all the time I may change some words but if someone did a good job on their listing and it sold I will use it for my own . Mark
01/22/2017 at 6:26 pm #10888
I just found a title somebody plagiarized from me. I’m not too worried about just the title, but I had to laugh when they even copied the little code I use for my bin number to tell me where it is stored. 🙂
02/27/2017 at 10:23 pm #13500
This finally happened to me, with someone stealing a photo of my item. An item that I am holding in the picture! It was taken in my back yard, and I can see part of my tattoo in the picture, for eff’s sake.
It’s an utterly stupid item to steal a picture of: a glass replacement chandelier panel.
I don’t think it would bother me so much if it wasn’t for the fact that my hand is in the picture.
I wrote the seller, and requested they delete my photo. I expect I’ll be getting a hearty “Up yours” in response, even though I was civil.
Honestly, some people are so freakin’ lazy.
02/28/2017 at 7:00 am #13513
When this topic first came up, another seller said you can file a VERO case with eBay.
02/27/2017 at 10:44 pm #13501
Sorry this happened to you; it really is maddening. Tonight, while researching a china pattern on Replacements, I found a picture that I’d taken of a salad plate on their site! It is a very rare antique pattern and they have none of them in stock so they must have trolled eBay for a photo and found and copied mine. I was really surprised that a reputable company like Replacements would do that without asking permission. I’m debating whether to challenge them on it but in this case, I have derived so much benefit from their service over the years, I’m feeling a bit more charitable than I would with another eBay seller.
Unfortunately, eBay can’t or won’t do anything about stolen photos. However, if your thief responds with profanity, eBay definitely will take action on that. That will make you feel like something has been done!
02/28/2017 at 12:03 am #13504
Honestly, I feel bad for this guy’s buyers, because if he’s done it to me, he’s done it many times before. He has over 8,000 feedback. It’s dishonest and a deliberate misrepresentation of his items, for no reason other than he can’t be bothered to photograph his own items. If I buy something on ebay, I expect that the item pictured is the item I am receiving, not a picture of someone else’s stuff.
Since this guy is using my photo as his primary picture, (on not one, but 2 of his listings!), I decided I would also use the same photo as my primary picture for my listing. When buyer’s search for the panels, they’ll see the same photo 3 times now. No reason not to use my photo front and center. What’s he going to do, complain to ebay?
02/28/2017 at 12:17 am #13505
You could watermark your photo. If he’s already stolen your photo, then he has an un-watermarked copy. Still, a watermarked version on your own listing might help you make a case with eBay if it comes to that. There might also be an argument that part of your body (the tattoo) is being shown in someone else’s photo….that could more persuasive than the theft of the inventory photo.
02/28/2017 at 12:31 am #13506
That’s a good idea. I will call ebay tomorrow, and see what they have to say. At the very least, it’s knowledge gained.
02/28/2017 at 1:08 pm #13557
Update: The seller took my photos down, so I have not called ebay. I am glad I didn’t have to involve them.
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