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So, what’s it made of?

September 29, 2011

No wonder people get confused! Here’s an item description I saw on eBay for a smartphone cover:

I still can’t figure out what the cover is made of — the photos all show a leather (or leather look-alike) cover, so where does ‘strong plastic’ come from? And ‘Preminum’ quality? That’s a new level of quality altogether…

I don’t expect eBay listings in English to be perfect, especially if they are from a seller whose native language is not English. But this was from an Australian seller.

Perhaps I’m too harsh, but dodgy spelling in a listing from a seller I’ve never dealt with before means that my trust has been compromised before I even read the rest of the listing.

A little bit of editing would go a LONG way to give the listing credibility and for me to trust the seller. Sellers don’t have to employ a professional editor (though if they’re serious about selling online, I’d suggest that they do); just having someone else read it before putting it up should have caught the three major errors I saw at a quick glance of those five points.

As it was, I took this screen shot and moved on to the next seller of a similar item.

By the way… those three major errors?

  • Is it plastic (item 1) or leather (item 3)?
  • Item 4 should be ‘Premium’.
  • Item 2 should be ‘Hard to break’ or ‘Tough’ to keep the structure of the list parallel.

Other — minor — errors that I noticed:

  • This is not a sequential list of steps, where item 1 has to be done before item 2 etc. It’s a list of features with no implied order. Instead of numbers, the seller should have used bullet points.
  • There’s no need to capitalize every main word (title case); capitalizing the first word of each list item (sentence case) is sufficient and makes the text more readable.
  • If it’s really leather, then there’s no need to say ‘genuine leather’. Leather is leather. If it’s not real leather, then you can’t use ‘leather’ — you have to use ‘simulated leather’, ‘leather-look’, ‘vinyl with leather grain’ or something similar.
  • Red italic font with a drop shadow? Hmmm… A little overkill, but this was an eBay listing ;-)

One comment

  1. And here I thought I was the only one who edited wherever I went.

    I figure it’s a losing battle on eBay, but it sure does keep our skills sharp in our off-hours, doesn’t it?



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