Thursday, August 16, 2012

No More Spells on Ebay

Maybe the leprechaun for sale was the last straw. According to Ebay's 2012 Fall Seller Update, the auction site will no longer accept listings for magical and metaphysical services. The site is also prohibiting "magic potions," which strikes me as slightly problematic in that the same item could be prohibited based on its description - so calling a blend of essential oils a blend of essential oils would be fine whereas commenting that the scents correspond to particular columns in Liber 777 could result in the item being delisted.

Items that will be prohibited include: advice; spells; curses; hexing; conjuring; magic services; prayers; blessings; Psychic, Tarot, Reiki, and other metaphysical readings & services; magic potions; healing sessions; work from home businesses & information; wholesale lists, and drop ship lists.

Ebay's supposed rationale is that such services often produce disputes between sellers and buyers, which I suppose is why they also include "Advice" (this was really a category?) among the prohibited items. It seems to me, though, that this is going to be the case with any sort of service that is not easily quantified. Does Ebay have other categories of this sort? If services in general are being phased out, frankly that strikes me as a business opportunity for some other similar site willing to pick up the slack. Services are a big part of the economy and a centralized marketplace for them would be quite convenient. Maybe some of the professional sorcerers who read this site can clue me in - are Ebay listings useful in terms of attracting clients? Also, what percentage of the listings are as hokey as the leprechaun one or the "vampire spell" shown above?

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Anonymous said...

Ebay has done this sort of thing before. A few years back mmorpg goods were banned amidst fraud complaints and philosophical questions about the nature of the service.

The thing is, Ebay wasn't meant to be a vehicle for services of any kind. It was meant to be a place to sell physical goods, and it does that very well, and its policies are designed to handle the sale of physical goods, not services. I'm sure there are far more complaints of fraud involving used cars, just because of the sheer number of used car sales versus psychic services, but ebay has ways to resolve those complaints which just don't work with psychic services.

And we all know all of those things being sold are scams. Less than one percent of spells and divination services that are not performed face to face are never performed. Everyone knows this.

Being of a minority faith that uses such things, we don't want government involved, because it can too easily spill over to persecution of legitimate practices, and has happened before.

Still this sort of stuff tarnishes all of are images, and we shouldn't tolerate it. If a company like Ebay is responsibly eliminating this sort of crap while leaving legitimate spiritual sales intact, I think that's a good thing. I can still buy my tarot cards on there.

Scott Stenwick said...

I can see your point there regarding services. I still think the "essential oil" versus "magic potion" distinction is potentially problematic, and the same could go for talismans - they're objects, after all, and it seems to me that this ban shouldn't cover them.