How to Get Around Typos on the Internet

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Adam's Apple, May 30, 2006.

  1. Adam's Apple
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    Adam's Apple Senior Member

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    Craig Crossman, National Newspaper Computer Columnist

    OTHER PEOPLE'S TYPOS CAN SAVE YOU MONEY

    I've been writing my newspaper column for nearly two decades. Yet with all that practice, I still make typographical errors. The colloquial term is "typo" and anyone who uses a keyboard has more than likely made their fair share. Typos are a way of life and some of them can be quite amusing. The ones that are just misspelled can easily caught by the obligatory spelling checker. But sometimes a typo can itself be spelled correctly and those are usually the slippery ones that get by even the most eagle-eyed editor.

    Fortunately I caught one of my worst at the last moment. I was writing a review of a software product that would help to summarize documents. I originally wrote "If your paralegal or secretary is too busty to tackle those documents, your computer may hold the answer." It's amazing how just one little letter "t" in the wrong place can spell disaster. Take eBay for example. I was somewhat surprised to learn that eBay doesn't spell check their listings. So unless it's something really offensive or obscene, it remains just the way it's posted. And therein lies a secret to finding really great deals on eBay.

    If a popular item is put up for auction, everyone is going to bid on it and snatch it up faster than you can say "iPod." But what happens when a seller puts their iPod up for sale on eBay but they misspell it? Everyone is searching for the keyword "iPod" but if the seller put up "I-Pod" or "eye-pod" (don't laugh, it's happened), then only a small number, maybe even no one will show up for the auction. In that case, chances are you would be able to buy that iPod for a song. The only problem is actually FINDING those misspelled items up for sale. You may be able to do some kind of general search on a few of the more commonly made typos but to find the really bad ones, you're going to need some help.

    This is where Fat Fingers comes in. It's very simple website based on a really clever little idea. It's creator noticed that literally thousands of items up for sale were just not selling because no one could find them. The owners were making some really bad spelling errors while others had simply made a typo within the item's name listing. In either case, the items weren't selling. As he continued to search, he discovered some really great deals on which no one was bidding. The idea to create a website that searched for misspelled item names and typos on eBay listings quickly followed and Fat Fingers was born.

    The home page is really simple. Just type in the item for which you are looking and click the Find button. Fat Fingers goes through its constantly growing database of how people typically misspell search words and submits all of them directly into the eBay website. Other options let you further refine your search via its Advanced Options. These check boxes let you include the correct spelling, restrict the search to only the Buy It Now auctions and just the auctions that use PayPal.

    I typed in "iPod Nano" and was amazed at what was being offered but in the wrong name. I found dozens of listings for iPod Nanos that were simply listed as "Pod" and "I POD." I also saw "Ipood Nano" and "I+pod Nino."

    None of them would have turned up with a correct spelling search. But nevertheless, there they were. I also tried something with a more conventional spelling, "Emerald ring" turned up a beautiful "Emerlad ring"
    and a very nice "Emrald ring" with absolutely no bids on them. Looked like a deal to me.

    Bottom line is that people's spelling mistakes can be a real money saver for you out there in eBay land. So before you get ready to make that big purchase, you might want to give Fat Fingers a try first. It's a completely free service and who knows? The typo someone made just might spell success for you.

    www.fatfingers.com

    http://www.computeramerica.com/content/columns/craig/2006/2006-05-22.htm
     
  2. no1tovote4
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    no1tovote4 VIP Member

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    Awesome. But now that everybody knows will these deals exist?
     
  3. Adam's Apple
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    Adam's Apple Senior Member

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    Well, at least 13 people (by today's count of who has read this post) have an advantage over the others for the e-Bay deals. :)
     

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