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Author Topic: eBay removing Bitcoin listings...  (Read 2926 times)
mpfrank
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June 29, 2011, 12:13:22 AM
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Hello all, I recently tried to include a Bitcoin as a "bonus item" on eBay (attached to the sale of a penny), and they deleted my listing with the following explanation:

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This listing has been removed because you have listed a Bitcoin. We do not allow them to be given as bonus items either. Bitcoins are only available in the virtual setting and therefore there is no product to ship to the winning bidder. We have this policy because as the seller, if a Buyer Protection claim is ever filed against you, you would not have proof of shipment and would not be able to appeal the case. Please do not list any additional items that will be electronically sent to the buyer.

Because there are so many listings on our site, we can't immediately catch all listings that violate our policies. So it's possible that there may be listings similar to yours that are currently on the site. If you come across any other Bitcoins on our site, we encourage you to file a report so we can review it. To report a listing, go to the listing and click the "Report item" link.


We don't let sellers list virtual products such as online game characters, accounts, currency, codes that can be redeemed for in-game items, or related software. This helps protect the people who originally created the products and own the rights to reproduce and sell them.

Of course, this stated justification for their policy is wrong on two points:  
(1) With Bitcoin transfers, you *do* have proof of shipment, namely the transaction record on Block Explorer, and
(2) Bitcoins are not copyrighted and there is no such thing as "the people who originally created the products and own the rights to reproduce and sell them."

Unfortunately, eBay does not provide any easy way to contact them to contest their policies.  Anyone know how I can give them a piece of my mind?  I suppose I will bitch on Twitter...

If all the sovereign non-cryptocurrencies will eventually collapse from hyperinflation, you can't afford *not* to invest in Bitcoin...  See my blog at http://minetopics.blogspot.com/ .

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June 29, 2011, 12:17:52 AM
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At least it sounds like they know what a bitcoin is.  And it makes sense why they don't want you to be able to sell them.  The chargeback issue is a nightmare when you are trying to demonstrate proof of shipment through block explorer to a CSR who has no idea WTF you are talking about (and you can't really expect them to).  It's not some evil conspiracy to keep Bitcoin down, it's just bad for their business.

I think you could still sell a bitcoin wallet on a flash drive that is physically mailed, but I still don't know how the chargeback would work if the buyer did file a claim for item not as described instead of non delivery.

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June 29, 2011, 12:20:31 AM
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Believe it or not, they really are trying to protect you.  Had you sent your coins to the winning bidder and they filed a dispute with Paypal that the items were not received, you would lose every time. 

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June 29, 2011, 12:23:12 AM
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Because there are so many listings on our site, we can't immediately catch all listings that violate our policies.

Yeah, it's really hard to find all the bitcoin listings.  Step 1 - type 'bitcoin' into the search box.  Step 2 - press <Enter>.  They're really giving it the old college try, aren't they?

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June 29, 2011, 12:24:17 AM
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"This listing has been removed because you have listed a Bitcoin. We do not allow them to be given as bonus items either."

Sounds to me that if one's eBay item has "Bitcoin" anywhere in it then it will get cancelled. And trying the spammer trick of including B*tc0ins probably doesn't stand too much chance of working either. Smiley
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June 29, 2011, 12:30:56 AM
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With Bitcoin transfers, you *do* have proof of shipment, namely the transaction record on Block Explorer

You could say the same thing about World of Warcraft gold, but who is really going to take the time to try to verify all that.

With the transaction record, it still doesn't really prove if they got it. They could easily say that's not the address the supplied you and chat logs/emails aren't reliable proof, since text is quite easily altered with some programs, Notepad for example. There isn't a renowned company like UPS/FedEX/USPS that is verifying the shipment, so in the end, there's really no solid proof except for your word vs the buyers, which is never a winning situation since ebay is all about buyer protection.
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June 29, 2011, 12:42:58 AM
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I haven't had any of my listings canceled so I doubt eBay is pursuing them dilligently. Likely another seller reported your listing to push you out of the market to keep the prices high on eBay. If you notice the ones that go to auction usually end up around market price so after fees you are losing money but if you put high buyitnows they sell no problem and fast. The thing with buyitnows is eBay charges a higher percentage and listing fee. They rake the hell out of you and paypal to.  One guy is getting suckers to buy his at $50 a bitcoin.
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June 29, 2011, 12:44:31 AM
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I see dozens of bitcoin listings now on Ebay...they don't seem to be too consistent in their crackdown.
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June 29, 2011, 12:45:54 AM
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So they cancel your listing and then ask you to narc on others? Classic.
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June 29, 2011, 01:00:24 AM
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I see dozens of bitcoin listings now on Ebay...they don't seem to be too consistent in their crackdown.
Are they selling a certificate with the bitcoin? Some people are/were selling bitcoins on ebay with a "certificate" which is shipped
to the buyer.

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mpfrank
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June 29, 2011, 04:28:55 AM
 #11

Thanks for all the insightful remarks.  I decided to write a blog post inspired by my experience,
http://minetopics.blogspot.com/2011/06/paypal-ebay-and-bitcoin-proof-of.html .

The purpose of this post is twofold:

   1) Show people why a Bitcoin proof-of-shipment is actually quite straightforward to provide,

   2) Convince sites like eBay and PayPal that they ought to support Bitcoin transactions, instead of fighting them.

IMHO, PayPal needs to have a contingency plan for, what if Bitcoin takes over the world.  They could reinvent themselves as a company that provides value-added payment services on top of a Bitcoin foundation.  Cheesy

If all the sovereign non-cryptocurrencies will eventually collapse from hyperinflation, you can't afford *not* to invest in Bitcoin...  See my blog at http://minetopics.blogspot.com/ .

Donations accepted at:  17twYNyqTiCTM2gJmumkytvhZh4sCVSKNH
Chick
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June 29, 2011, 04:30:01 AM
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LOL, at least they know what a Bitcoin is. Maybe some of their employees have some!

if you get filed a paypal dispute, you lose every. fucking. time.

mpfrank
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June 29, 2011, 04:34:49 AM
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They could easily say that's not the address the supplied you and chat logs/emails aren't reliable proof, since text is quite easily altered with some programs, Notepad for example.

That is a good point.  But I have an answer to it.

Right now, sellers provide their PayPal address for receiving payment through the eBay site, so the seller cannot repudiate what payment address he provided to the buyer, and thereby deny receiving payment.

Similarly, if eBay wanted to facilitate Bitcoin sales (instead of banning them), it would be easy for them to just provide a text box in which the buyer can input their address for receiving the Bitcoin transfer.  

That way, the buyer cannot repudiate what address he said he wanted to receive his coins at.  The block chain (together with an ID digitally signed by the Bitcoin seller) should do the rest.

That should be entirely as good as the buyer's signature on a FedEx delivery receipt.

If all the sovereign non-cryptocurrencies will eventually collapse from hyperinflation, you can't afford *not* to invest in Bitcoin...  See my blog at http://minetopics.blogspot.com/ .

Donations accepted at:  17twYNyqTiCTM2gJmumkytvhZh4sCVSKNH
qualia8
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June 29, 2011, 07:14:36 AM
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They could easily say that's not the address the supplied you and chat logs/emails aren't reliable proof, since text is quite easily altered with some programs, Notepad for example.

That is a good point.  But I have an answer to it.

Right now, sellers provide their PayPal address for receiving payment through the eBay site, so the seller cannot repudiate what payment address he provided to the buyer, and thereby deny receiving payment.

Similarly, if eBay wanted to facilitate Bitcoin sales (instead of banning them), it would be easy for them to just provide a text box in which the buyer can input their address for receiving the Bitcoin transfer.  

That way, the buyer cannot repudiate what address he said he wanted to receive his coins at.  The block chain (together with an ID digitally signed by the Bitcoin seller) should do the rest.

That should be entirely as good as the buyer's signature on a FedEx delivery receipt.

Exactly. It's an easy fix.  BTC transfer is more confirmable than any physical goods: hey, who knows what, exactly, was in that FedEx box?
cloud9
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June 29, 2011, 07:23:09 AM
 #15

Hello all, I recently tried to include a Bitcoin as a "bonus item" on eBay (attached to the sale of a penny), and they deleted my listing with the following explanation:

Quote
This listing has been removed because you have listed a Bitcoin. We do not allow them to be given as bonus items either. Bitcoins are only available in the virtual setting and therefore there is no product to ship to the winning bidder. We have this policy because as the seller, if a Buyer Protection claim is ever filed against you, you would not have proof of shipment and would not be able to appeal the case. Please do not list any additional items that will be electronically sent to the buyer.

Because there are so many listings on our site, we can't immediately catch all listings that violate our policies. So it's possible that there may be listings similar to yours that are currently on the site. If you come across any other Bitcoins on our site, we encourage you to file a report so we can review it. To report a listing, go to the listing and click the "Report item" link.


We don't let sellers list virtual products such as online game characters, accounts, currency, codes that can be redeemed for in-game items, or related software. This helps protect the people who originally created the products and own the rights to reproduce and sell them.

Of course, this stated justification for their policy is wrong on two points:  
(1) With Bitcoin transfers, you *do* have proof of shipment, namely the transaction record on Block Explorer, and
(2) Bitcoins are not copyrighted and there is no such thing as "the people who originally created the products and own the rights to reproduce and sell them."

Unfortunately, eBay does not provide any easy way to contact them to contest their policies.  Anyone know how I can give them a piece of my mind?  I suppose I will bitch on Twitter...

Paypal/ebay might see Bitcoin digital goods' liquid, each one unique, securely transferrable, publicly verifiable proof of transfer properties as a competitive threat enabling alternative online commerce maybe?

Disclaimer:  Postings of Cloud9 are only individual views of opinion and/or musings and/or hypothesisses.  On a non-authoritative, peer-to-peer public forum, you do not need permission from Cloud9 to derive your own conclusions or opinions, so please do.  Calculations and assumptions to be verified.
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June 29, 2011, 07:48:57 AM
 #16

I've sold bitcoins in 5-10 auctions, 5-10 btc each.
Since early June, I make about 30-60% premium on each auction. Plus I think it's a good protection against a price crash (If the price goes up, bids goes up... If price fall... they can't lower their bids! Wahahaha)
I took several measures and never had a buyer cheated on me.

I stopped selling a few weeks ago because the premium starts falling below 30%. Also, I have problem getting the money out of Paypal. ($500 limit/month for me).

What make me thought Ebay would let this goes on for a while is because for each sales of 100-300 usd, I gave them 12%! (9%ebay +3%paypal). I alone gave them many hundreds of dollars in fees. Bitcoin and all virtual stuff is against their policy in the first place, but if they'd turn a blind eye, it's a good cash cow. Well... I guess not anymore.
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June 29, 2011, 10:35:10 AM
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damn!

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June 29, 2011, 10:47:07 AM
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Bitcoins are only available in the virtual setting and therefore there is no product to ship to the winning bidder

Oh then it is against the rules to sell softwares on ebay?  Roll Eyes They are VIRTUAL Roll Eyes


Oh well, at least they changed the reason for deletion. Before they happily deleted bitcoin listings stating that "blabla games currency blabla COPYRIGHT (wtf?)blabla"

Now they at least recognise that they are Bitcoin and NOT game currency or another copyrighted shit, but still the reason for deletion make no sense at all
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June 29, 2011, 11:36:20 AM
 #19

"Please do not list any additional items that will be electronically sent to the buyer."

Guys.  Stop listing the Bitcoin in the auction.

Sell a damn USB stick that "Has gone unchecked and unclean, I do not know the files, if any, on the stick"

Link to your auction through a locked off forum that eBay cannot see themselves without registering, all threads pointing to eBay can list the actual contents of the USB stick.  To the next level, let's put porn and other things on those USB sticks too.  See how many 'dirty' usb sticks you can sell on eBay.

Why would this be any different than the people who sell unlocked/unopened safes for large amounts of cash based on the fact that no one knows what is inside?

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June 29, 2011, 12:02:15 PM
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"Please do not list any additional items that will be electronically sent to the buyer."

Guys.  Stop listing the Bitcoin in the auction.

Sell a damn USB stick that "Has gone unchecked and unclean, I do not know the files, if any, on the stick"

Link to your auction through a locked off forum that eBay cannot see themselves without registering, all threads pointing to eBay can list the actual contents of the USB stick.  To the next level, let's put porn and other things on those USB sticks too.  See how many 'dirty' usb sticks you can sell on eBay.

Why would this be any different than the people who sell unlocked/unopened safes for large amounts of cash based on the fact that no one knows what is inside?
That leaves you vulnerable to fraud. The buyer says he didn't like the item or it wasn't as described and he sent it back. He keeps your bitcoins.

I am an employee of Ripple.
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