Should eBay allow golliwog listings?
A friend of Tamebay has told us that eBay has removed one of his listings because it features a golliwog.
The item in question is a repro metal plaque of an old Robertson’s Golden Shred marmalade advert from way back. You probably remember such ads. Here’s the picture:
The reason? eBay says it falls foul of a listing policy. The eBay email to the seller reads: “After reviewing your eBay account, it looks like you haven’t followed our Hateful or Discriminatory policy.”
Here’s the relevant policy rubric from eBay: “We don’t allow items that promote or glorify hatred, violence, racial, sexual, or religious intolerance, or promote organisations with such views. We also remove listings that portray graphic violence or victims of violence, unless they have substantial social, artistic or political value.” The full policy is located here.
It is easy to say that such a retro item doesn’t really seem to fall foul of the criteria or spirit of that policy. Our seller has been selling the same item for several years.
It’s an old style curio and hardly that offensive (see contemporary rap music with racially offensive lyrics that also glorify violence against women, for instance, that are freely available on eBay).
Equally, some will quite justifiably say that we don’t need such things sold in 21st century Britain. A golliwog is racially offensive to many and should not be sold. And everyone would be right.
But the real issue here is eBay’s inconsistent and unpredictable application of its own policies on sellers. Not only are similar items still up for sale at time of writing (see below) but such items are also freely available on Amazon and elsewhere online.
It’s such a well worn groove, that it’s very annoying to play the record again. But. Why can’t eBay apply its own policies fairly and consistently after all these years?
And what of counterfeits, illegal sellers and genuine fraud? You doubtless have examples in your own market area. It will irk many that golliwogs get eBay’s interest before VAT evaders and genuine wrong un sellers.
Should golliwogs be on eBay’s priority hit list?