James Stanley

On Gumtree, "Bitcoin" is a dirty word

Sun 1 October 2017

I tried to list a sofa bed on Gumtree today. I went through the usual rigmarole of dusting the item off, taking some photos, uploading the photos to Gumtree, and writing a compelling description that would hook in the buyers and secure me great riches.

After saving the listing I noticed a small "Processing" label next to it in the "Manage My Ads" section of the site. I've never seen this before, normally the listings go straight to "Live". But I haven't used it recently. Maybe they've updated something and the listings need to be processed now. No big deal.

A few hours later I received an email from Gumtree, subject "Your Gumtree ad 1268627165 has been removed":

Hello James,

Thank you for posting on Gumtree.

Unfortunately we have had to remove your ad "Ikea EXARBY Sofa Bed" posted in the category "Sofa Beds & Futons" from the site.

We believe that this ad is offering something that we do not accept on Gumtree.

To see the list of items that cannot be advertised on Gumtree please go to: http://gumtree.force.com/Help/articles/General_Information/Items-not-allowed-on-Gumtree

Thank you for your understanding.

Was this email helpful? We would like to hear from you. http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/gumtreemail1

The Gumtree team

**Please do not reply to this e-mail!!** It is automatically generated and if responded to, WILL NOT be received by a member of our staff.

For further help or to contact us please go to: http://gumtree.force.com/Help/knowledgeHome

(emphasis mine).

That's odd. If they don't allow sofa beds to be sold, then that's news to me. I've bought a sofa bed on Gumtree before, and they even have a "Sofa Beds & Futons" section! I had a small scroll through the list of items not allowed on Gumtree and nothing immediately jumped out. Towards the end there is a ban on "Any other digital products", and it dawned on me that this included Bitcoin. My listing wasn't actually anything to do with Bitcoin, I just happened to end with "Payment accepted in cash or Bitcoin". This appears to have put me on a blacklist just in case I'm selling Bitcoin. I wasn't even able to edit the listing. It was placed into some sort of locked mode where I can't do anything at all to it.

The email Gumtree sent me was from a no-reply address, but I eventually found my way into their live chat support. The support person was friendly and informed me that the problem was my use of the word "Bitcoin". He unlocked my listing and instructed me to remove the word "Bitcoin", which I did. I saved the listing and it went straight to the "Live" status. So simply mentioning the word "Bitcoin" is enough to get your listing removed, and you don't have any way to get it back until a member of staff gives you permission to edit your listing.

It's not even clear to me why you're not allowed to sell Bitcoin on Gumtree. It doesn't harm anybody. It's not even illegal.

Surprisingly, after sorting out my listing, the support person mentioned that he'd recently watched a documentary on Bitcoin and was still struggling to get his head around it.

Anyway, if you sell things on Gumtree, you better not admit to accepting Bitcoin payment, lest you get bucketed as an undesirable and have your ads removed.

And if you buy my sofa bed, I will happily accept your Bitcoin, whether Gumtree like it or not.

If you like my blog, please consider subscribing to the RSS feed or the mailing list:
or follow me on Twitter.

James Stanley - james@incoherency.co.uk | jesblogfnk2boep4.onion | /ipns/jes.xxx/ | [rss]