So, Creeps Are Exchanging Photos of Random Kids on Ebay

Posted: January 28, 2013 in Internet
Tags: , , , , , ,

This is going to be a bit different from what I usually post on here, but, having stumbled across this, I gotta say something about it in public.

I’ve been a regular, small-time ebay user since 2000. I mainly trade in collectibles: action figures, comics, punk and hardcore records, and other geeky stuff like that. The other day I was doing a broad search to identify an item (toy) that came into my possession. The search terms were “vintage” and “hulk,” which yielded a lot of results to wade through. As I’m scanning through comics and toys and pins and pictures of the wrong Hulk (ie, Hogan) and the like, two adjacent listings’ images stuck out as out of place . . . really out of place. See if you can guess which ones I mean:

Screencap of completed listings since I didn't cap the original search before the auction ended.

Screencap is of completed listings since I didn’t cap the original search before the auction ended.

Yes, the pictures of a kid opening Christmas presents seem more than a bit weird here. Nothing super insidious at first glance, but then out of curiosity I clicked one open to figure out what the hell this was someone was selling. The item for sale was a candid family photograph (as was the other one) listed under “other contemporary images”  and “Trading Cards>Comic>Incredible Hulk.” Yeah, that’s a trading card, right.

Here’s a cap of the auction (as above, as a completed listing rather than the live one I saw at first):

Screen Shot 2013-01-28 at 2.21.03 PM

Here’s a link to the original listing, while it lasts.

If the problem with this listing isn’t apparent enough from the title, here’s an excerpt from the seller’s item description (seller is gydfe55ney, who joined ebay June of last year):

I AM LISTING DOZENS OF ORIGINAL, VINTAGE, COLOR PHOTOS AND COLOR CHRISTMAS PHOTOS OF CUTE HANDSOME YOUNG TEEN BOYS, YOUNG GIRLS AND BABY BOYS.

 
THIS IS A GUARANTEED ORIGINAL AND VINTAGE COLOR SNAPSHOT PHOTOGRAPH SHOWING CUTE HANDSOME YOUNG BOYS.

There’s really no other way to say it . . . this is fucked-up and wrong. And someone out there paid $3.50 for this picture (I’m not going to discuss the picture or post a capture of it at this point, use the original listing if you are curious about how the picture might be construed as eroticizing a child).  Also, the listing is “private,” which means no one can see what the buyer purchased through his or her feedback (something usually done for the sale of “adult” items or things that may be a bit personal that people would rather not be seen as buying).

So, I scanned through the rest of this seller’s (now-completed) items and found more of the same (you can do this here if so inclined). It appears as though the seller picked up a bunch of discarded family photos*, pulled out ones with specific characteristics, and wrote up the listings for a rather specific target market seeking pictures of “skinny young shirtless boys” or similar. Here are a few caps of auctions that sold for relatively large amounts of money:

Screen Shot 2013-01-28 at 2.39.04 PM

Screen Shot 2013-01-28 at 2.38.49 PMScreen Shot 2013-01-28 at 2.41.33 PM

Screen Shot 2013-01-28 at 2.44.32 PM

Links to auction listings for these: One, two, three, and four.

Now, I’m well aware that there are people buying and selling old photos on ebay for various reasons, and I am now aware that there is a trade in old photos of men swimming or otherwise scantily clad (keyword here is MEN). I am also pretty sure that nothing here violates ebay’s ToS or allowed items policy. That doesn’t mean this is at all okay. It’s not. It is fucked up.

Extrapolating outward from this one seller’s keywords (and “vintage” seems important as it gives this stuff the guise of old art photos despite being obvious family snapshots from the 70s-80s or so), I found a few other listings with similarly messed-up descriptions for pictures of kids, mostly in pajamas or bathing suits.  And these things sell at private auction to someone for prices that don’t really make sense outside of one reason: people are picking these up as child erotica that they get off on.

I don’t know where to go with this beyond feeling compelled to write it up here. There’s not likely any recourse via ebay or the law. A petition to ebay? Doxxing and publicly shaming the seller?

Actually, doxxing the seller would be easy enough–just purchasing something via paypal would do the bulk of it–but then what?  Should I just send this info to Anonymous’ anti-pedo ops? Ideas?

* Actually, this particular seller’s history reveals he has been buying up lots of “vintage” photos on ebay.

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Comments
  1. Lillie says:

    They are back at it again under a new seller and same buyers under new name 20thcenturyfinder, I am totally disturbed by this….