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Notes from a small workshop - anecdotes & musings from the workbench
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The scam



Creativity comes in many forms, but if there's one thing that encompasses them all it's the proprietorial feeling you get from having created something.
Be it a song, a painting, a garden, a novel...or even a decent pie - there's a sense that it's 'yours'. Even when you fling the object of your creativity out into the world (which gets a bit messy in the case of pies and gardens) for all to see, you still retain that sense that a part of you goes out with it. In the case of pies this could be somewhat unfortunate.

Now, I wouldn't consider myself to be all that creative - I simply write down the first thing that comes into my head. I then erase it and write down the second thing that comes into my head.
Even so, I gain a sense of achievement from it - some small satisfaction, and a rather curious feeling of having emptied my head of some thoughts in order to make way for new ones.
Understandably I'm inclined to be a little protective of my jottings.

It therefore concerned me when I received a few emails asking me about the identity of a sax that had been put up for auction on ebay. Upon examining the auction I was extremely surprised to see that the seller had lifted an entire review page from this site, jiggled it about a bit, and was using it as a means to defraud people of money. It wasn't so much that the pictures had been used - it was more the words, used without accrediting the source. Worse still, the seller had seen fit to chuck in a few badly spelt 'additions'. Most Un-British.

I felt, too, a sense of responsibility - that my words were being used in a scam, to rip people off...the irony being that the reviews are there to prevent people from making costly mistakes. I decided to act, and headed off to Ebay central to inform them of this heinous crime.
But I soon found myself caught up in a frustrating circle.
Ebay has a means of letting them know about fraudulent auctions, but in order to do so you have to be a member. As this was an issue relating to my business rather than my personal Ebay pastimes, I wanted to contact them in my capacity as the 'guvnor' of this establishment...but as I wasn't a member there didn't appear to be any way of doing so. Every time I got close to my destination I'd be hit with a screen asking me to sign in.
Eventually I ended up having a 'live chat' with someone whom I assumed had something to do with the running of the service. I had a decent enough moan, and was able to have them intervene and pull the auction (eventually).

I was then surprised to find yet more emails coming in informing me of a similar ruse.
Exactly the same format - so presumably the same person...so again I trawled over to Ebay to find someone to have another moan at.
This time though I emailed the seller, with a spurious query regarding the auction...I later sent a suitably snotty email off to him, which was rather satisfying.
This particular auction came as a surprise to someone else too - one of my clients...who owned the horn in question!
We'd clearly both decided to act at the same time, because as I was ringing him to ask if he knew anything about the auction he was ringing me to ask exactly the same thing.

But out of all this disgraceful business came a rather nice surprise.
Quite a few people had stumbled across the auction and recognised the pictures as having come from my site...but quite a few people had recognised the words.
I can imagine that, in some small way, it's a bit like a songwriter hearing someone pass by in the street, singing one of their songs.

 

 

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