Wake Up Blind eBay Members!

Wake Up Blind eBay Members!

This week’s newsletter was prompted by an email I received yesterday from one of my subscribers. Apologies to you but I have lost your email but I seem to remember your name was Heidi? – Maybe next week’s newsletter could be about managing emails so you don’t lose them 😉

Anyway, Heidi sent me an email asking why so many eBayers fail to read listings. Heidi has been having a lot of problems from eBayers purchasing e-Books from her eBay store but then complaining because they thought they were buying a hardback book. Even though Heidi’s listing stated the item was an e-Book several times it seems like the eBayers overlook this information…. but why? Are they blind?


Probably not, but they do have what I call “Selective Reading” – Meaning they only read what they want to read! When they look at Heidi’s listing they initially think they are purchasing a hardback book so their mind has already processed that bit of information. The buyer doesn’t want to read that their beloved hard-back book is actually an e-Book, that’s where the selective reading part comes in. The buyer’s brain already knows they want a hardback book, not an e-Book so even though the information is there on the page, the brain will choose to ignore it.

Don’t believe me? – Try this example (Some of you may have already seen this last week)

Count every ” F” in the following text:




WRONG, THERE ARE 6 — no joke.
Really, go Back and Try to find the 6 F’s before you scroll down.

The brain cannot process “OF”.

And I believe the same can be said for the “Blind eBayers”, as frustrating as they are, I don’t think they can do anything about it. There brain chooses which information to pass onto them and which to withhold. Unfortunately for us eBay sellers it seems that the “Blind eBayers” are here to stay.

How can we combat the problem?

I don’t know, do we have any psychologists reading? If so please tell us what we can put in our listings to prevent this problem!

Likewise if you have any suggestions on how to stop this problem please leave a comment. My own personal opinion is to have a massive red headline that says:

“Warning Blind eBayers – Please don’t listen to your brain, read the listing in full!”

Or alternatively you could just send them to this article 😉

Until next week,

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17 Responses to “Wake Up Blind eBay Members!”
  1. Michael says:

    Hi Dan,

    first the subject of the “F”‘s…

    I had no problem at all finding ALL SIX!
    How many should I have seen?

    Now to the bit about “ebook” and people not seeing the word and
    how to make sure that the buyer knows it is a download.
    Well I think that the seller should repeat the word “download” at least
    FIVE times so that the buyer will see for sure that it is a download and
    not a real book. Doing this seems to be the quickest and easiest way
    to make sure that “download” sinks in to their head.

    What do you think?

    All the best – Michael

  2. Katie says:

    Hi Dan,
    I noticed something the other day (probably be noted a million times before but i thought i would mention it). Quite a few ebayers are selling Police Auction Ebooks. ie where people can find cheap items from police auctions in their area. Not only is this information found on the ineternet FOR FREE if you look hard enough. But buyers where bidding a ridiculous £800 for an ebook. The titles are something like PSP3 save 60% on PSP3 police auction ebook.
    I guess people are just looking at the PSP save 60% bit and missing out on the all important information.
    Yet people are still bidding over the odds for the ebook – admittedly it is normally people with under 5 feedback, i am not sure if they actually intend on buying the ebook for that ridiculous price or like some of your previous bidders – are being malicious and just bidding for the sake of it with no intention to pay – who knows.
    I just wonder if the bidders are blind or just get a kick out of bidding high prices? The people selling these items should be banned from ebay anwyay because it does mislead newbies especially if they are blind!!

  3. Ken Seal says:

    Regarding blind eBayers:
    The problem is not restricted to ebook sales. I have sold physical products and found blind eBayers who just do not read. Many times they saw the bid, and stopped reading.

    The only solution I found was to include specific language in the listing, and then reffering them back to the listing for clarification. That means that I would say “This is not a printed hardback book. This book is only offered in electronic format, and must be downloaded to your computer to be read.”

    Even this explicite wording will not stop all the crazy’s from emailing. I really think some people get pleasure out of harrassing us, knowing that we will have to respond and waste our time.

  4. Dan (el_passo) says:

    Some good suggestions there, I think we need to come up with a global statement that could be used by all ebook sellers. Something everyone can put in their listings to clearly state the item is digital. The eBay.com digital item policy seems to be a good way to highlight the product is digital, but unfortunately it isn’t available on ebay.co.uk yet.

    Michael – Apparently anyone that finds all 6 first time is a genious 😉

  5. Michael says:

    Well Dan – what can I say?

    apparently I am a genius and did not know it!

    But the reason I picked up on ALL six “F”‘s is simply because
    I did not actually read the sentence – I simply looked through
    the letters and counted the “F”s as I was asked. Maybe I am
    just good at doing as requested?

    Maybe when it comes to Ebayer blindness the buyer should
    be asked to tick a “I confirm this is a download” checkbox?
    Would that help do you think?

    Ttfn – Michael

  6. Janet says:

    Well I will probably be one of the few that find the question very offensive. BECAUSE YES I AM BLIND! I have a program no my computer called JAWS and it reads to me what is on the screen. As for the lady and the ebooks unless stated that they are hard cover, or paper back if bought over the net I take for granted they are digital. But then again I try to use gray matter. I have noctice that people tend to think things are what they want so it had best be stated plainly exactly what it is.

  7. Dan (el_passo) says:

    Sorry Janet,
    I didn’t think about the title that way, it was more a tounge in cheek comment.

    Apologies for any offence caused to you and anyone else reading!

    I have never heard of any software such as “Jaws” that reads the screen contents. It must be a real life saver for you, how did you find out about it?

  8. Connie says:

    Hi Dan,

    Great blog today!

    I counted 5 Fs so I guess I did well. 🙂

    I haven’t had any problem with people thinking they are getting a hardback book but then I am kind of new at being an eBay seller.

    I would like to comment on what Katie said about the Police Auction Ebooks being free information. I do think that the bidding on that item is outrageous (I saw one go for over $1,500) but the fact that the information can be found online for free isn’t surprising to me.

    The majority of books both physical and digital have information in them that is free, if someone looked hard enough. The information is out there for anyone to gather together and then put into the form of a product.

    People have been doing this for ages now and being paid time and time again for producing the same information. What people are paying for is the time, effort, interpretation and expertise of the author that put the information together. It is the ease of having the information in one place that makes it a good product.

    I truly enjoy gathering together information about different subjects and putting them into a book, audio or video that others will enjoy. But, it does take time, effort and I have to interpret the information and put it together so there is something that has value for the consumer.

    It is the perceived value of the information that raises the price. I also enjoy watching my listings go higher and higher. This tells me that I have created a good product. Isn’t that what auctions are all about?


  9. LINDA says:

    hi Dan you have really upset me. I think you should have called your email ‘wake up stupid ebat members. I thought I had posted yesterday but obviously I hadn’t – glad really because Janet says it all for me and also made me aware of ‘Jaws’ for reading the text – I too am blind and have been for 7 years, so that’s at least 2 people you have offended.
    I think there are far more stupid, people in the world so you would have reached more people by usint the word ‘stupid’.
    I can only speak for myself but because of my blindness I am much more aware of the written word because I have to read everything seversl times, and believe me I am not stupid!
    Well you have your rants, that’s mine. Linda

  10. Janey says:

    Janet Quoted:
    Well I will probably be one of the few that find the question very offensive. BECAUSE YES I AM BLIND! I have a program no my computer called JAWS and it reads to me what is on the screen. As for the lady and the ebooks unless stated that they are hard cover, or paper back if bought over the net I take for granted they are digital. But then again I try to use gray matter. I have noctice that people tend to think things are what they want so it had best be stated plainly exactly what it is.

    I read the original post by Dan and interpreted it to be referring to ‘blind ebayers’ as apposed to ‘blind people’ ie. people that simply do not read the listings and therefore assume what they have read to be correct, but certainly not directed at blind people in any way!

  11. Sinita says:

    I agree, Janey, I didn’t feel that Janet sounded offended in her post.

  12. Paul says:

    I too was offended by the subject line of this email as both my daughter and her partner are blind. Whilst most people would not even give it a second thought, people who are either directly or indirectly affected by this most terrible of conditions most certainly will be. I applaud the people who have been offended by this and have been brave enough to say so in this “blog”

    with that said, now to the second reason for replying to this thread.
    A quick word of advice to anyone who may be considering buying “JAWS” It is a very expensive piece of software ( $800 US or about £600 GB) and it does have its fair share of shall we say quirks. But if you are going to buy it the observant of you may have noticed the figures above do not correlate to the exchange rates for the given currencies. So the advice is when searching where to buy from you are better off buying from the US than you would be buying from the UK approximately to the tune of £150 ($300) So it pays to shop arround.

    All The Best


  13. Dixie says:

    Hi Dan: Most people who buy books on eBay, buy actual books. They aren’t blind or stupid. They find a title that is of interest, and see the picture of a book, and instead of reading the entire description, they just say “yippee – that’s just what I was looking for!!” They hit the bid or buy button, delighted that they have found a book with free shipping. Most don’t know a lot of computer jargon, if any, and haven’t the foggiest idea what upload, download, or digital means – to them, an ebook is a book that’s sold on eBay. They need to be told, right up front, that an ebook is an electronic transfer that will be sent to their computer as soon as their payment is received, and they should watch their email for instructions. Tell them if they still don’t understand what an ebook is, to click on “ask seller a question” in the upper right hand corner of the page, and you will explain further. I know this to be true, because 3 years ago, when I first started buying and selling on eBay, I was new to the internet, and proud that I could get an eBay account set up by myself. Go ahead and laugh, but we all have to start somewhere. I’ll bet if you took a poll, you would find that all unhappy customers are fairly new to eBay and the internet – not to mention ebooks. That’s my 2 cents.
    (eBay ID: dixieredhatter)

  14. Dan (el_passo) says:

    Thanks for all your comments.

    Let me just make a “Global” apology for the subject line. I honestly didn’t think it would cause so much controversy. As someone else posted it wasn’t at all a dig at Blind people, just a tounge in cheek comment about eBayers that don’t read listings in full.

    Paul – Good point about the conversion rates ATM. There has never been a better time to buy products in USD with the exchange rate as it is. If you are planning on buying expensive products in USD then now is the time to do it, the exchange rate today is $1 = £0.52

  15. Pat Graham says:

    After reading last week’s rant for the second time, I have a
    suggestion for helping people to read the copy.

    How about placing a captivating question or two in various
    places in the copy. The question could be in a bright color
    and larger font than the main body copy. The following
    paragraphs could answer the question and mention “ebook
    download” a few times.

    When I skim a sales letter…yes, I do it, too…and pass over a
    question that stirs my curiousity, I stop and scroll back to it
    to see what the answer is. This is a simple thing to do, but it
    might be effective.


  16. Christine says:

    I’m so glad that I’m not the only one having trouble with Ebayers and ebooks. I have written several ebooks and, although they sell really well, it’s amazing how many times I’ve been asked for the cost of postage. Ahh well, one day they might get it right.

  17. harry says:

    i really dont think people should be offended by the title as it was referenced at ebayers not people in general. I dont think people are stupid i think it is solely to do with selective reading ‘skimming’ there is not much that can be done about this apart from maybe bold text clearly clarrifying the purchase.