It is called 'trolling for suckers'. eBay
sells hope and unethical sellers know this. So some sellers play the listing game very well, seeking to take advantage of eBay
's 'buy things sight unseen and from people you don't know half way around the world' marketing. NYStamp has it down to a science and has built a very large number of people who use them. Start everything at a penny, make crude repairs on thinned stamps and show low resolution images of the backs.
In my opinion catalog publishers facilitate some of this too; the out-of-touch catalog values only feeds buyers into thinking they are getting 'deals'. I think you are correct; many buy these low quality stamps, never look closely at them when they get, mount them up in their albums, then feel great about the 'deal' they got and how much they are astute buyers.
Quality dealers then have to listen to family members accuse them of 'ripping them off' when they try to tell them the value of a bunch of low quality material that has little actual value.
This damages the hobby on many levels but hey, NYStamps is doing great. It is frustrating to me when good hobbyists will hold their nose and will still support dealers who damage the hobby. Yes, a person can navigate the sea of crap and make a good buy for themselves, many just write it off with a 'buyer beware' perspective.
Education is the only weapon in this battle. There always has been and always will be sellers and venues which will take advantage of the inexperienced and unwise. There will always be another Philip Ryle or NYStamps waiting in the wings.
It is important that we share information on the quality sellers and dealers. It is important that we dispel the eBay
marketing scams like their feedback system. It is important that we educate folks to learn as much about the people they are buying from as they do about the material they are buying. It is important that we educate people on how to build a good online business relationships.