“Pray for Boston” bumper stickers, “Prayers for Boston” T-shirts and newspaper covers showing bloody images of the deadly Boston Marathon bombings -- those are just some of the items up for sale on the Internet in the hours following the attack.
Marathon memorabilia and post-bombing products are being sold for as little as a $2.50 (plus shipping and handling).
On Amazon and eBay, a handful of bumper stickers and decals including “We Support Boston,” “Pray for Boston” and “Pray for Boston -- We Love You” with a Boston Red Sox “B” in the middle have popped up ranging in price from $2.50 to $5.
On eBay, for $9.95 you can buy a “Remember Boston, 04.15.13” T-shirt in three different colors. And, for six dollars more, you can own a “Boston 2013 We Will Not Forget” T-shirt.
The costs of these items are not astronomical but the fact that they're for sale does raise the question -- is it right for people to cash in on a tragedy?
Three people were killed yesterday and more than 100 injured, some severely, when two bombs packed in pressure cookers and hidden in backpacks, exploded near the finish line.
eBay spokeswoman Kari Ramirez pointed NBC10.com to the company’s guidelines for disasters and human tragedies. Those guidelines say that items such as newspaper clippings, photos, commemorative pieces of art and goods sold by specific charity websites dedicated to helping victims are allowed.
“Listings that graphically portray, glorify, or attempt to profit from human tragedy or suffering including… items that are insensitive to victims of natural disasters” are not permitted to be sold.
In a statement, eBay promised to monitor Boston Marathon items for sale and to take down those it deems as inappropriate:
We are deeply saddened by the Boston tragedy and our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected. Out of respect for victims, eBay does not allow listings that graphically portray, glorify or attempt to profit from human tragedy or suffering. eBay’s teams are monitoring related listings to ensure they comply with our policies and also taking into account reports from our community members. When a listing is brought to our attention that may go against our guidelines, we carefully consider the context and all of the details, and decisions to remove items are made on a case-by-case basis. Anyone can report an item to eBay for review by clicking the “Report Item” link on the listing.
Amazon spokesman Scott Stanzel said that any items sold in the company's marketplace must follow Amazon guidelines. "We reserve the right to make judgments about whether or not content is appropriate and encourage our customers to contact us with questions or comments."
When you see post-tragedy items for sale, it's not always clear if the intentions of the seller are honorable or profit-driven. On CafePress, T-shirts like “I Survived Boston 2013” and “Never Forget Boston” ribbon T-shirts cost up to the "sale price" of $29.99.
CafePress spokeswoman Sarah Segal said that everyone at the sales site, which specializes in user-generated designs, are "deeply saddened by the events that took place in Boston.".
Segal, a Boston native, says since the site is working to ensure products aren't profiting off tragedy.
Perhaps not surprisingly our users have been taking to the CafePress platform to express their feelings in the aftermath of this tragedy. Immediately after yesterday’s news broke, CafePress stepped-up our already comprehensive monitoring of user-uploaded designs to additionally monitor new user content relating to Boston and the bombings there. With particular sensitivity to recent events, images deemed either tasteless or unacceptable based on our content usage policy are being removed from the site and will continue to be monitored. In addition, we are considering removing certain designs that may have been uploaded prior to yesterday’s tragedy and in no way connected to it, but might now considered inappropriate in light of the tragedy.
After asking CafePress about certain shirts, those and other shirts -- even one's intended for charity -- were no longer available for sale on the site because they didn't meet the site's content policy, according to Segal.
It’s unclear if the “Survived” T-shirt, which was removed, was planned before the bombings. As for the ribbon shirt design, it was made by national running club Moms Run This Town with the intention of raising money but was pulled down as organizers figure out how to collect extra money as a donation to bombing victims, said MRTT’s founder Pam Burns.
Burns says that all money earned from sales at the MRTT CafePress store and at RecoverBrands.com will go to Boston-related charities -- the group is collecting money now with the intention of giving it where it’s needed -- and that they plan on having another shirt up by the end of the day in which $10 from each sale will go to helping out victims. Burns also said some of the organization's 500 local chapters were effected by the bombings and that money could possibly go to help pay for medical bills, etc.