On eBay, Misspelling in titles and descriptions often means “opportunity”.
When Steve Marconi wanted to sell his ex-wife’s diamond ring, he listed them on eBay – but his item didn’t sell. So, he put the item up for sale again…still no sale.
Could it be that he used a reserve? Perhaps the description wasn’t very good. Maybe the pictures didn’t do the item justice – because, in fact, it was a beautiful diamond ring. Is it possible that the title was well written: Dimond Ring Size 6.5 1.0 Carat Emerald Cut Low Reserve
The answer seemed obvious – to everyone but Steve. On eBay, some sellers are clueless, while others are just careless. You’ll find items for sale on eBay such as labtop computers, throwing knives, Art Deko vases, camras, comferters and saphires…even dimond rings.
Now, you might be thinking…there is no way that people really misspell the key word wrong for the specific item for sale. Well, not only does it happen, but it happens frequently.
These item will occasionally get bidders – bur rarely very many. Often these items are scooped up by “Power Buyers”, or people who troll eBay 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. Michael B., a jeweler in West Palm Beach Florida, is one of them.
Mr. B 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, he 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 10th of their usual cost by searching for Hubell and 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 $28 billion worth of goods was sold last year. The company does flag common misspellings, but wrong spellings can also turn up similar misspellings, so that buyers and sellers frequently read past the Web site’s slightly bashful line asking, by any chance, “Did you mean . . . chandelier?”
Just the other day I searched on eBay and in less than an hour turned up dozens of items, including bycicles, telefones, dimonds, mother of perl, cuttlery, bedroom suits and loads of antiks.
This creates a great buying opportunity. Often times people ask where they can find product to sell on eBay. Sometimes the answer can be as simple as “On eBay”.
Ms. Marshall, who lives in Dallas, said she knew she was on shaky ground when she set out to spell chandelier. But instead of flipping through a dictionary, she did an Internet search for chandaleer and came up with 85 or so listings.
She never guessed, she said, that results like that meant she was groping in the spelling wilderness. Chandelier, spelled right, turns up 715,000 times.
Some experts say there is no evidence that people are spelling worse than they ever did. But with the growth of e-mail correspondence and instant messaging, language has grown more informal. And much as calculators did for arithmetic, spell checkers have made good spelling seem to quite a number of people like an obsolete virtue.
Not that spell checkers are used by nearly everyone. Indeed, experts say the Internet — with its discussion boards, blogs and self-published articles — is a treasure trove of bad spelling.
“Before the Internet came along, poor spelling by the public was by and large not exposed,” said Paige P. Kimble, the director of the National Spelling Bee. Now, though, “we are becoming acutely aware of what a challenge spelling is for us.”
Sandra Wilde, author of the 1992 book “You Kan Red This!: Spelling and Punctuation for Whole Language Classrooms K-6,” said language served a variety of purposes, so that in some settings it might make sense to skip punctuation or to speak in slang. She likens instant messaging, for example, to notes passed at the back of the classroom when the teacher’s back is turned: there is no premium on proper spelling.
“On something like eBay though,” she said, “it matters.’
Smart sellers will actually keep in mind that misspelling doesn’t just come from a seller listing an item for sale – but from a buyer as well who will actually search on eBay using a common misspelling of the item. Warren Lieu of Houston, who was selling hunting and fishing knives on eBay recently, covered all the bases: his listing advertised every sort of alphabetic butchery, including knives and knife.
Mr. Lieu, a computer programmer, keeps a list of common misspellings, including labtop for laptop and Cusinart for Cuisinart.
His strategy of listing multiple spellings, he said, is based on his experience as a buyer. “I’m a bad speller myself,” he said. So his mistakes in searching for items led him to realize that he could buy up bargains.
“I’d go ahead and deliberately misspell it when I searched for items,” he said.
Even some who have made money off misspellings have felt their bite.
When Mr. Scroggins, who has been helping his parents sell off the contents of his father’s jewelry and watch repair store, recently listed “a huge lot of earings,” it attracted only three bids, and sold for just $5.50.
And then there was the time he sold the family’s flatwear.
The MisspellGenerator.com eBay Search Program is a great resource for both buyers and sellers. This easy to use program and search results appear in as little as three seconds. Simply enter your keyword and with the click of the mouse you will be whisked off to eBay to find the hidden gems.
eBay generates over a billion page views a DAY. Of the tens of millions of items for sale on eBay at any given time, how many misspelled item titles prevent the auction from showing up in a search?
MisspellGenerator.com lets you search for items that are misspelled right from your desktop. Enter in your item name, hit the Search button, the program will search eBay for dozens of variations of your search term. A built in browser will whisk you away to eBay and provide you with all the current active auctions for those items that are misspelled by the sellers.
You should be able to pick up some real bargains with no one else bidding against you. Just remember thousands of items on eBay are listed with misspelled titles, from a single word to multiple words. These items often expire with no bids on them as no-one can find them. Use MisspellGenerator.com to uncover those hidden gems.