eBay restrictions?
February 18, 2005 5:27 PM   Subscribe

Every once in a while, when clicking on an item up for auction at eBay, I get a page with generic message saying "Unfortunately, access to this particular category or item has been blocked due to legal restrictions in your home country..." and cannot see the item. But I'm in the US using a US IP address; why would there be a legal restriction? Going by the most recent incident, from what little I could see of the item's information--basically, the title--it didn't seem to be anything remotely offensive or illegal. Why and how does eBay block certain auctions from certain countries or IP addresses? Is the US one of those countries? How can I view these items? I don't even necessarily want to bid on them, but my curiosity is piqued.
posted by Asparagirl to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
Best answer: According to this post on the eBay boards, it is because you have French or German enabled as a language in your browser. eBay can't sell certain things like Nazi memorabilia in those countries, and uses a braindead way of blocking it. Suggested solution from there:
Go to your browser, language settings. Remove everything except English. French and German (among others) will generate this message whenever you try to list items from WW II.
posted by smackfu at 5:37 PM on February 18, 2005

Response by poster: Yup, it was the language settings (English, French, Italian, Yiddish) in my browser that did me in. Dumped the French from the list and voila, the link worked. What a weird way to do "country-based" filtering--especially since my eBay account clearly has a US billing and shipping address!

The most recent item, by the way, seems to have been blocked based on one of the categories it was placed in ("Collectibles > Militaria > WW II (1939-45) > United States > Books"), not on the content of the item, which turned out to be an innocuous little pamplet with lovely 40's graphic design about how to grow your own Victory Garden.

Much thanks, smackfu!
posted by Asparagirl at 5:56 PM on February 18, 2005

Doesn't eBay know of GeoIP? Probably too expensive and cumbersome.
posted by Gyan at 6:10 PM on February 18, 2005

eBay don't want to do this well, but to placate the French courts they need to appear to be doing something. This seems a pretty good way of doing that, as it provides an easy work-around for the user, and gives eBay plausible deniability.
posted by yt at 8:37 PM on February 18, 2005

Response by poster: Oh boy, an official Ask.MeFi FOLLOW UP!

Thanks to the advice given in this thread, I was able to view, bid on and purchase the pamphlet. I scanned it and uploaded it to my Flickr account, as well as uploading the cover image to ourmedia.org/archive.org. (Because the pamphlet was developed by the US government in the 1940's using public monies, it is assumed to be out of copyright for non-commercial uses.)

So if you'd like to read about growing your own Victory Garden, or just check out some nice 1940's art, here's the entire booklet. Enjoy!
posted by Asparagirl at 10:50 AM on December 30, 2005

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