On eBay, Look for Bad Spelling to Find Good Bargains

Here’s a way you can take advantage of the fact that not everyone on eBay is a spelling bee champ. Let’s say you’re looking for a home theater system, preferably one made by Klipsch, whose speakers you’ve always admired.

eBay ad for auction of expensive home theater systemYou check out eBay, and, ouch, the only Klipsch systems you can find are in an ad like the one here where the Buy It Now prices are as high as $477–out of your budget. But maybe you could buy a “Klipsche” system for less. Rerun your search, only this time deliberate misspell Klipsch by adding an unneeded “e.”

Sure enough, check out the second screen shot, where one seller didn’t know how to spell Klipsch. The auction is for the same model as the two more expensive systems, and it’s new, just as they are. It’s safe to say you’re the only one looking for a “Klipsche” home theater because this system hasn’t received any bids. You can grab it before anyone else has a chance at the $175 buy-it-now price, or you can take the chance that not too many other buyers are on to this spelling trick, and bid to get it for $40 less.Mispellling leads to good fortune on eBay

When it comes to typos produced purely by fumbling fingers, check a site such as  typoBuddy, one of the sites that provide online assistance finding goofed product names. TypoBuddy identifies the search terms that most often contain typos:

Banana Republic
Callaway Golf
home theater system
Louis Vuitton
playstation 3
xbox 360

Here’s my own list of often confused terms.

Spirit instead of Sprint
Sprite instead of Sprint
Sonny instead of Sony
Lense instead of lens
Logitek instead of Logitech
Cannon instead of Canon
Chip and Dale instead of Chippendale

All right, the last one I just made up. But the others are real, and shows being inventive with spelling often pays off.  Give it a try next time you’re screen shopping at eBay.

For now, so lung…long.





    how can u b sure its the same company as the correct spelling company?

  2. Josh Windisch

    eBay makes things way way too difficult. I want to like ebay, but am I the only one that finds myself utterly defeated by it at times? I can’t tell you what I went through recently just to pay a fee I owed. I had to wait for them to tell me I was late in my payment just to get a link for a “one-time payment” that I could do. Crazy.

    • Steve Krause

      Craigslist FTW!

  3. Bob Eckert

    If they can’t even spell the name of the manufacturer then the stuff is probably
    junk or they have less than perfect feedback or whatever, my brief experience with
    this strategy was more trouble that it was worth. If the listing is complete, creative,
    etc, contact the buyer, use your instincts that your smarts have given you and
    blah blah blah (sorry not enough sleep).

    • Ron White

      If someone started a company named “Klipsche” selling identically styled and named models as Klipsch, there would be a trademark suit so fast your head would spin.

    • Ron White

      As a lifelong poor speller, I can testify that spelling ability has little to do with whatever other talents and skills we may be blessed with. For feeback, check a seller’s rating, not his writing.

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