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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 1924 - November 24, 2008 - ISSN 1539-5065    2 of 5

eBay Takes Blackthorne Software In-house

By Ina Steiner
November 24, 2008

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In a further step toward consolidating its operations, eBay is moving development and support of eBay Blackthorne listing software in-house to San Jose and is laying off the Blackthorne development team. The tool was developed independently in 1998 by Blackthorne Software, which eBay acquired in 1999 (the developer supposedly had had plans to make the tool compatible with Yahoo Auctions and Amazon Auctions before the acquisition). The Pennsylvania-based unit has continued to support the software, originally called AuctionAssistant.

eBay changed AuctionAssistant's name to Seller's Assistant and instituted monthly fees. Before that, customers paid a one-time fee to purchase the software. In 2005, eBay redesigned the tool to support eBay's new API structure, calling it eBay Blackthorne and phasing out Seller's Assistant.

According to a November 19, 2008, post on the boards by Blackthorne Software founder John Slocum, "Effective Jan. 30th, 2009, the Blackthorne product will be transitioned to the San Jose based Seller Tools team. eBay remains committed to the Blackthorne product and will continue to support it with the same dedication you have come to expect from the Blackthorne team in Pennsylvania."

In subsequent posts, Slocum said that as of January 30th, the seven members of the Blackthorne team would "no longer be eBay employees," and he said the decision to transition the program to eBay's in-house developers was an eBay business decision.

Blackthorne customers have expressed concern over whether eBay would continue to support the program and provide the same level of customer support.

Link to announcement

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 ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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