Thursday, September 6, 2012

Is it worth tossing out the entire batch to get rid of some bad apples

As my regular readers know, I have been tracking comments about the recent eBay policy change that removes all fortune telling, spell-casting, and healing services from the eBay site. One of the comments I saw yesterday was that "We finally got much-hated and loathed master crook XYZ off of eBay--how is this a bad thing?"

Well, I am not going to argue that it is a bad thing that those types of readers and advisors are no longer allowed on eBay, but look at how they were removed from eBay. In order to remove the bad apples from eBay, the company removed ALL readers, spell-casters, and healers from eBay. Both the good and the bad are affected by this policy change.

So how many bad apples does it take to justify getting rid of the whole bushel? One, a hundred, a thousand? In the case of the paraphased commentor, one was enourgh to justify eBay's action. Whatever the magic number is for eBay, there were that many bad apples on eBay.

Now, back in February, I kicked around the bad apple threshold question when Paypal decided that it was no longer going to allow its service to be used by erotica writers who were writing the Forbidden Four. A couple of sites, to conform with Paypal's policy, ended their relationships with ALL indie writers, not just those who were involved in writing erotica and the Forbidden Four.

(Paypal, by the way, is owned by eBay. Are you surprised by their parent company's actions?)

The interesting part is that one of the sites allowed their own "bound by contract" writers to continue writing the Forbidden Four. So basically, it looks like they merely got rid of the toublesome indie writers as a token effort to appease Paypal. (One wonders how much, or how little, money they were collecting from indie writers.)

Of course, to answer the bad apple threshold question, one must figure out what a bad apple is in the first place.

The extreme answer that I keep running into in the local community is that a bad apple is any occultist or writer who charges. So if you do readings for money, or charge fees for classes, or collect royalites off your writing--you are a crook and a bad apple. And this seems to be the answer that eBay has embraced--all Tarot readers, psychics, magicians, witches, and healers are bad apples.

So yes, we got evil master crook XYZ off of eBay--but we also got to see the whole field declared a bunch of crooks by a major corporation. And I doubt that it going to prove to be a good thing in the long run.

1 comment:

Scott Stenwick said...

One of my readers pointed out that at least part of the problem is that eBay was set up to handle sales of items, not services, which is a reasonable point. On the other hand, it seems to me that the solution to this is simple - ban the sale of all services, rather than picking and choosing particular areas.

As I mentioned in my article, I also think that the ban on "magic potions" doesn't really fall under the "services" heading. It could easily result in the same item being allowed when you call it an "essential oil blend" and banned when you call it a "magical essential oil blend," even if the oils in question perfectly match particular columns in Liber 777.