eBay Bans All World Trade Center, Pentagon Items

Internet auction leader eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY) said late Tuesday it had temporarily haltedtrading in all items related to the World Trade Center or the Pentagon, the scenes of devastating terrorist attacks earlier in the day.

The ban on items relating to the attacked locations is an extra measure that San Jose, California-based eBay said it was taking “out of respect for the victims, their family members and the survivors.”

eBay already has a standing policy giving it the ability to stop trade of “offensive” items, including those related directly to crimes. But the temporary policy, which eBay said will last until October 1st, covers all items relating to the two sites, whether or not they refer to the apparent terrorist attacks on September 11th.

“This is an extraordinary measure that we feel is appropriate considering the extraordinary nature of [Tuesday’s] events and its direct affect on so many members of our community,” eBay said in an announcement to its members. “Many of our users have asked that we take this step, and we believe that the eBay community will understand and support this decision.”

All Items Covered

The ban covers anything bearing the name or image of the two sites where tragedy struck. Both of the 110-story World Trade Center towers crumbled to the ground Tuesday morning about an hour after two hijacked commercial airlines were crashed into the structures. Thousands, including scores of police officers and firefighters, are missing and feared dead.

In Washington, D.C., the Pentagon suffered extensive damage when a plane crashed into the west wing of the headquarters of the U.S. military.

“We understand the strain that the sale of items relating to those events and the locations where they took place may place on those affected,” eBay said. “Our thoughts remain with the victims and their families during this terrible time.”

Policy in Place

eBay’s policy against listing offensive items has allowed it to largely steer clear of a legal and public relations mess that has ensnared Yahoo! Auctions. Yahoo! has been sued for allowing sale of Nazi-related items.

eBay’s offensive items policy, which does not mention terrorism directly but gives eBay discretion to ban items it deems “offensive” to its community, was put into effect in February 2000.

“Listings that promote hate, violence or racial intolerance have no place in a true community,” the policy states.


  • eBay’s lack of business ethics stoops lower with each passing day. First they publicized they were suspending the sale of WTC items until after October 1st…then they allowed their “Auctions for America” to sell them and they posted a notice on their Announcement Board that anyone NOT participating in AFA couldn’t sell any WTC items until after December 31st.

    Well, being a NY’er I reported auctions not in the AFA Program that were selling WTC items as recent as yesterday, and was sent this reply from eBay:

    “Our policy has just been AM mended again, and we are now allowing postcards and posters which show the New York Skyline and World Trade Center towers, as long as they are prior to the disaster.”

    Once again eBay displayed their love for the almighty dollar far surpasses all that is right.

  • eBay now PERMITS the sale of all “memorabilia” from this tragedy as long as the items are listed under their “Auctions for America” Listings. No doubt this policy change was put into effect only to raise the number of participants in their program.

    Suddenly, all sympathy for the victims and their families has disappeared in ebay’s eyes…which are now clouded with the color of green. $$$$$$$

    As a New Yorker I find it VERY insulting that they are gaining national recognition as doing something caring, even patriotic. When in essence all they’re doing is padding their numbers for their stockholders.

  • I totally agree with this ban. I think it should be permanent because I don’t believe anyone should capitalize on the loss of others.the sale of any items representing this catastrophe would be a disgrace those who lost their lives here.I live in Alabama but I still grieve for those who were lost and their families.I AM stunned by it all.

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