eBay Launches Certified Provider Program
By Ina Steiner
eBay replaced its "Preferred Service Provider" program with a new "Certified Provider Program." eBay said the new program was established "to recognize the best-of-breed eBay Platform innovators who are helping eBay users grow their businesses through services, including technology or data licensing services."
Charter members in the new program include 17 companies: Marketworks, As Was, Auctiva, Bandi, Borderfree, ChannelAdvisor, Channel Velocity, Dealtree, Infopia, Internet Business Skills, Kyozou, MyStoreCredit, SmartCollector, Truition, Wholesale Marketer, Worldwide Brands and Zoovy.
eBay is designating two types of certification: solution providers and service providers. The company said "Certified Solution Providers" offer technology or perform technology-based services (i.e., software development) along with non-technical services. "Certified Service Providers" supply solely non-technical services, such as consulting, responding to buyer inquiries, designing listing templates, and offering selling recommendations.
Marketworks, a provider of sales automation software for eBay merchants, was the first member of the Certified Solutions Provider program. Marketworks chief marketing officer Paul Lundy said, "This new designation signals to potential customers that Marketworks has a successful track record with providing services to the eBay community." Marketworks currently has nine consultants and six engineers certified through the eBay program.
Greg Isaacs, eBay Senior Manager, Platform Programs and Market Development, said certified providers act as a sales arm of eBay. "They talk about eBay as a channel, and they are out there helping ramp up sellers. They're also a source of innovation."
To be eligible for either certification, individuals at interested companies must pass eBay's annual certification process, which includes exams covering eBay features, policies, best practices and technical backend. In addition, at least 10 customer references must be provided, including at least one eBay Gold PowerSeller. There is also a $3,000 annual fee.
Once the exam is passed, program members have access to valuable educational and marketing resources, including use of the eBay Certified Provider logo on their Web site and other marketing materials. The logo also will appear on any of the providerís listings in eBayís Solutions Directory.
Debbie Levitt, president of As Was, was the first Certified Services Provider in the program. As Was bills itself as a full-service consulting firm specializing in eBay and online sales, business creation and operations management, marketing, and custom Web-site development.
Levitt said she's been doing eBay consulting for years, and although customers and eBay category managers raved about her services, eBay referrals were restricted to the small number of companies in the legacy "Preferred Service Provider" program.
Levitt said she was thrilled about the launch of the new program, "it's what we've been waiting for." Already her company has seen the benefits. By having a special logo next to the company name in the eBay Solutions Directory, she's been getting emails from people interested in her services. In addition, she said, "We will be able to educate to eBay staff about our services and the situations under which they may recommend us."
Certified providers are recognized with a special logo next to their names in the eBay Solutions Directory.
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to email@example.com.
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