Alexander Pope could not have imagined how often the line “To err is human” would be repeated during the centuries after he wrote it in the early 1700s. Neither could he have foreseen the rise of eBay, which, despite acting as a funnel for billions of dollars annually, is absolutely rife with spelling mistakes. It is a human-to-human platform, after all.
A misplaced letter in an eBay listing is harmless in almost every case — except in a title. A seller who lists his or her collection of Cannon camera lenses is, with the extra stroke of the N key, cutting out all would-be bidders who spell the photography brand’s name correctly in their search.
But on eBay, one man’s mistake is another man’s moment (no, Pope didn’t come up with that one), thanks to a handy website called FatFingers. FatFingers uses typos to benefit savvy shoppers by purposefully searching for those spelling mistakes, thereby uncovering listings for items that are left unnoticed by the masses of online shoppers who are getting all their letters in the right order.
Using FatFingers is wildly simple — all you have to do is go to the website, select your country, and enter the correct spelling of the brand or item you’re looking for. For example, plug in “Nintendo,” and the website searches for nintemdo, nimtendo, nintebdo, bintendo, nintenfo and more than 20 other variations of the Japanese video game company’s name. The more complex the brand or item name, the better your chances are of digging up something good, like a used bike or something for your hi-fi audio setup.
FatFingers does offer some tips for using its site:
Use one word. After you get to the eBay page with the typo search, you can use the sidebar’s filters to get more specific.
Don’t search for plurals. Keep it down to only the necessary letters here.
Save your searches. Even with FatFingers, finding a secret deal on eBay takes patience. After performing a search, scroll down to the “do more” box and save it for use again later.