Indecent Exposure

Claim:   A seller submitted a photo of a tea kettle with a revealing reflection to an on-line auction site.

Status:   True.

Example:   [Collected on the Internet, 2001]


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This is a quick note to all would-be auctioneers: Folks, if you're going to be selling something that people are going to be drinking fluids out of, please take some extra time to either put on some clothes before taking a picture, or concentrate on selling the non-reflective items in your kitchen. Thank you.

Origins:   One of the many trends spawned by the Internet is a phenomenon known as Reflectoporn — the deliberate posting of photographs of items with reflective surfaces to on-line auction sites, with those pictures "accidentally" capturing reflected images of the sellers/photographs in various states of undress.

The photograph that is generally credited with kicking off the Reflectoporn trend is the above-displayed image of a tea kettle, which was posted to, an Australian on-line auction site, in August 2001. That the posting of the revealing image was unlikely to have been accidental was confirmed by a trace of the seller's user ID, which showed him to be one of a group of people who were planting similar pictures on various web sites.

Other examples of Reflectoporn appeared in an auction for a television on the UK version of eBay in December 2002:

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And in an eBay auction for a guitar in April 2003:

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We started seeing the following picture of a dining room set in February 2005, although we don't know if it actually was, as claimed, used in on-line auction posting or other type advertisement:

This is an actual photo that was put in the classified ads for someone selling a dining room set. There's a pretty strong clue in here suggesting that it was taken by a man.

Sharpen your powers of observation and try to find the clue. Good luck.

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Last updated:   3 November 2007