A short item with this title appears in the March 2004 issue of Communications of the ACM. I remember reading a longer article on this at the New York Times web site a couple of months ago.
Some lonely eBay sellers, long puzzled by the lack of online enthusiasm for their goods, are now the favored folks for a growing cult of bargain hunters who search the auction site for those who simply, well, can't spell. Yes, a staunch group of eBay hunters are finding some serious bargains by ferreting out such products as labtop computers, Art Deko vases, camras, saffires, comferters, antiks, and dimonds (spellings all found in a recent eBay search). The New York Times reports a growing number of eBayistas search specifically for misspellings, knowing there is likely a frustrated seller on the other end who will accept a lowball bid just to get rid of the item(s). Often these buyers will then turn around and sell the item all over again on eBay for a much higher price simply because they spelled the item's name correctly. Educators say it's not so much a matter of more bad spellers in the population; it's that the online world has done a great deal toward publicly exposing them.
I tried a few such searches, but couldn't find anything. Maybe I spell too good. [A tip o' the hat to Brian Clapper.]
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