EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 127 - September 26, 2004 - ISSN 1528-6703     3 of 8

eBay Groups: Building Your Own Community

By Mark O'Neill

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Anyone who claims to know their movies will know the phrase made famous by Kevin Costner's Field of Dreams: "Build it and they will come." Now eBayers are proving that this is true by building their own eBay Group covering every possible subject they can think of, while at the same time forming close friendships from eBayers all around the world. eBay Groups basically allows users to create their own "discussion forums" based on their own interests.

Located in the "Community" section of eBay.com, eBay Groups has mushroomed in a very short period of time. These days, you can get groups based on different eBay categories, selling and buying topics, and there are also specialist groups for Powersellers, mentors, storeowners and trading assistants. One glance at the directory shows eBay Groups ranging from oil refineries to Polish pottery. Not a day goes by without me looking in my email inbox and finding email invitations from eBayers to join their group.

eBay Groups offers the opportunity for like-minded eBayers to come together, form friendships, help each other out, offer advice and opinions and comment on auctions. The location of each eBayer is no object because, as everyone knows, the Internet is truly international and without borders!

If you don't see a group catering to your interests, then why not start a group of your own? It's free to set up a group, and your group details are saved in the directory. Each group offers the chance to post messages just like a regular forum board, announcements and threaded discussions. You can also download photos to a forum photo album.

Groups can be either "public" or "private." Any eBay member can join a public group. In order to join a private group, a member must send a request to the group leader, or receive an invitation.

eBay Groups is also home to "The Chatter," eBay's official newsletter run by eBay's Deirdre. The Chatter is free and keeps you abreast of eBay developments, announcements, success stories and questions to Griff, amongst other things http://groups.ebay.com/forum.jspa?forumID=1260.

Yahoo Groups has been around much longer http://groups.yahoo.com, and eBay Groups is based on the same model. A search for the word "eBay" on Yahoo Groups brings back 2,515 groups.

Being a typical eBay addict, I created a group last year called "European-US eBay Friends," but due to personal and work circumstances at the time, I had to put the group to one side with the intention of returning later. "Later" turned out to be one year later, and imagine my surprise when I logged back into the group and discovered 52 members had joined since my last visit! (http://groups.ebay.com/forum.jspa?forumID=10000633) So it's true, if you build it, they will come.

eBay Groups main page
http://groups.ebay.com/index.jspa

eBay Groups overview
http://pages.ebay.com/help/welcome/group-overview.html

Yahoo Groups main page
http://groups.yahoo.com


About the author:

Mark O'Neill is Managing Editor of the popular tech blog, MakeUseOf.com. He is a Scotsman, now living the ex-pat life in Wurzburg, Germany. You can also find him on MarkO'Neill.org.


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