Has eBay created a paradise for foot fetishists?

An online article in the Telegraph caught my eye. Willard Foxton declares: How eBay created a paradise for foot fetishists.

I like the article because it manages to invoke eBay as complicit in some sort of salacious trade (good for traffic), sneer at foot fetishists (poor soles) and then declare there’s nothing much wrong with any of it. (Hurrah!)

But be warned, Foxton implies, this internet thing could get all out of hand and these are but gateway fetishes and scuffed shoes could lead to worse. Moral panic! Brrrr. Lock up your cobblers.

He writes: “it’s also a textbook case of how the internet is making us more strange. Not all fetishes are harmless. It’s worth stopping for a second and wondering what this means for the future.”

He doesn’t mention, because where would be the fun, that eBay has long had quite clear policies about selling used clothing and the like and also has very straightforward rules on communicating with other users.

My advice: if the lady in your life gets a saucy email from a boot sniffer on eBay when she’s selling her shoes, report it. It’s not allowed on eBay.

He also mentions soiled panties. Again, not allowed under the rules. (Of course some of it does go on and it’s not just restricted to ladies. Some fellas do a sterling trade in used boxers, jocks and footie socks etc..)

Any website of scale develops niches and backwaters where sometimes unusual things happen. I’m sure that on Youtube, Facebook and Tumblr you’ll find book lickers, fake fur fanciers and Barbie fondlers we don’t much like the sound of and worse. But different folks like different strokes.

And anyway, if Foxton wants to plumb the depths of immorality on eBay, he would do well to be rather more inquisitive. I could share some tales after working for eBay for 7 years. The stuff we found sometimes, especially while I served in the Customer Support team, really was vile, wrong and sinister.

But it wasn’t eBay that made us strange. Or the internet. We were strange all along. The internet only allows us to be stranger with impunity, connect with other strange people and trade strange things.

It’s largely just a matter of taste. Except for the genuinely wrong stuff.