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eBay Hacks by David A. Karp

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Protect Your Copyright

Prevent other sellers from stealing your photos.

Taking a good-quality photo of each and every item being sold can be extraordinarily time consuming, not to mention practically impossible for items still in their boxes or not in the seller’s immediate possession. As a result, many sellers resort to hijacking other sellers’ photos for use in their own auctions.

The problem is that photo theft can be extremely damaging, and not so much because of mere copyright law (although it does apply).

A big part of any auction’s desirability is its uniqueness. The more uncommon an item appears to bidders, the more valuable it becomes. When bidders see the same exact photo in two different auctions, not only are the implied scarcity and value of the item severely weakened, but the integrity of both sellers becomes suspect. And unless it’s painfully obvious, most bidders won’t distinguish between the thief and the seller whose photos were pilfered; a single theft of an image will hurt both sellers.

Protecting Your Image

My inspiration for this solution was a hot-dog vendor in my college town. On a shelf next to the broiler sat an old black-and-white television set, with the words “Stolen from Top Dog” written in permanent marker on its side.

The idea is to mark your photos so that they’re unusable by other sellers, but in a way that doesn’t adversely affect your own auctions. This is accomplished quite simply with a bit of text superimposed right on your photos.

The text should ...

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