There are 2 separate issues here:
- Responsibility to follow US laws (no matter how asinine) for a US-based company. On that, eBay
is high profile enough they feel they need to comply to avoid negative political pressure. That's annoying for them certainly, but many other companies find themselves in the same situation. Hipstamp presumably feels they are small enough to just ignore it.
- How eBay
tries to implement that US law. On this they fail, since using a simple word filter is like trying to hit a fly with a hammer. The vast majority of the Cuban/Iranian stamp material listed (on any of the online sites) is pre-revolution, and located in US/Canada/Europe already, so there's no actual violation of the US laws or benefit to the regimes that the US doesn't like. I'm sure eBay
- if they actually wanted to - could develop more intelligent ways to keep the material - supposedly new issues for which the profits would accrue to the regimes - from their platform. Bu as Don mentions, they don't, so instead we have this situation of verboten words - that are of course easy enough to get around with a little creativity.
I'd like to see more creative names along the vein of "Island South of USA"
"Large Trapezoid to East of Iraq"?
"Is that a Hammerhead Shark in the Caribbean"?
"Hang a Left from Pakistan"?