An interesting story is developing in the world of online Ebay auctions. Many Mego collectors have been noticing that their auctions have been pulled. The reason? The use of the word Mego. As of this writing, it’s unclear if particular listings are being sought out by a vengeful seller who is reporting the auctions or if it’s an internal change within Ebay’s own policies. Even if it’s the former, it seems to have resulted in some of the latter.
The problem originates as Mego has become a term to describe a specific style of toy. Often here at Infinite Hollywood and other websites, you’ll hear the term “Mego” bandied about to describe the 8 inch style of retro action figures. Even for modern action figures that certainly weren’t made by the long defunct Mego corporation. For a while now Ebay has cracked down on the use of terms such as Mego-Like, but it’s mostly been a non-issue. However in the past week Ebay has taken to removing dozens of auctions as they deem them to be a “search and browse manipulation” issue.
Traditionally a “search and browse manipulation” would be something like me listing a box of Crayola crayons and putting “Lady Gaga Underwear” in the title. Now my auction is getting lots of attention from people who are looking for Lady Gaga stuff, as opposed to crayons. Another popular violation would be for me to put the term iPad on a different tablet listing. Some unsuspecting bidder might buy my auction because they THINK they’re buying an iPad, when it reality they’re buying another tablet. However in the case of toys, you run into a unique set of circumstances where brand names can acutally be used to help describe different types of toys. Mego in particular falls under this umbrella.
Ebay is completely insensible to the reality of the issue. Brands like Cipsa and Lili Ledy worked in conjunction with Mego, using their molds to create toys. Auctions have been pulled using those terms with the word Mego. Even though Mego shared in the creation of them. Ebay’s stance is that you can apparently only use one brand name in the title of these auctions. Of course this doesn’t apply to lots of auctions throughout Ebay’s site, but for some reason Mego has caught the ire of the world’s biggest auction site.
Make a custom out of Mego parts and list it as a “Mego Custom”? It gets taken down. Mego Style? It gets taken down. Users are being sent a message such as this one…
Unfortunately, we had to remove your listing because of the following:
You used the brand name(s) “ Mego ” to compare/describe your item when your item was not manufactured/produced by those companies although one of the brand names may have been relevant to the item in the listing.
Adding brand, celebrity, or manufacturer names to a listing that was not made by that company, person, or manufacturer isn’t allowed.
Making comparisons or including unrelated terms in your listing may confuse buyers who may not be clear about what is actually being offered. This can result in an unsuccessful transaction and may also lead to a buyer claim being filed.
To avoid any problems in the future, please use only terms that describe your item accurately.
Many Mego sellers have taken to calling Ebay and using email and various other means to try and communicate the situation to Ebay, but as usual in these instances, Ebay is more concerned with “protecting” buyers of “misleading” auctions, than actually researching and correcting the situation to the best of it’s ability.
Apparently several auctions were originally reported. This is likely the result of one disgruntled seller, trying to take out a rival. However it’s my speculation that what has happened is that as this was brought to Ebay’s attention, Ebay itself began to look for other “violators”. So while the original reports were isolated incidents, they more or less created their own snowball that has turned into an avalanche that will only harm Ebay’s market.
Ebay has underwent some massive changes in the past few years that has ultimately crippled the site for toy collectors on all levels. Late last yest, Ebay modified their search categories, eliminating hundred of subcategories in action figures. Now when you search for a GI Joe, you can no longer break it down by year. Myself and several dozen other vintage Joe collectors spoke with Ebay officials and Ebay amazingly changed their search at our behest… Unfortunately, rather than listen to our detailed suggestions, they only added in a size function but didn’t implement the other changes we requested. The end result wasn’t very helpful and it came back to confuse Star Wars collectors (sorry about that guys) leading to them having their own Ebay revolt. Even the feature that they added was poorly implemented and essentially hidden.
Most sellers don’t even know that there is a 12″ subcategory option for list Joes, because of the obscure Ebay placement. This is why finding vintage toys is essentially a guessing game on Ebay these days. You have to enter in multiple names, styles and searches. Where it used to be you could bring up everything in one search and then narrow the results down. Ebay broke it, but they have no intention of fixing it. Ebay’s protectionist policies have made them very out of touch with their own users.
The Mego battle is just the latest in these string of odd choices from Ebay. Of course, as always when it comes to complaints about Ebay… There are no realistic alternatives. Until another auction site comes along to truly rival Ebay, toy collectors and other buyers and sellers simply have to grin and bear it. Unfortunately for fans of Mego, this could seriously hamper many future purchases.
As of this writing, there are still quite a few listings that do not seem to have been taken down. Mego Like, Mego Style and Mego Customs do still show results. However, the number has greatly decreased. While some have managed to slip through the cracks, many others have not. If Ebay continues to enforce this policy and becomes even more vigilant in policing it, the bottom may completely fall out of the Mego and “Mego-Like” market. That could have a devastating effect on Classic TV Toys’ Re-Mego Revolution that we spoke about recently. Ultimately only time will tell who will win in the Mego versus Ebay battle, but if I had to guess, the smart money is on Ebay.