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eBay to Tinker with Offering Local Services Again

eBay Marketplaces President Devin Wenig told a Bloomberg financial reporter on Monday the company was planning to experiment with offering services from auto mechanics alongside car parts.

“”eBay will start a small test this fall in a couple of U.S. cities” for providing mechanics’ services, Wenig said in an interview today at Bloomberg’s headquarters in New York. He declined to be specific,” Businessweek wrote.

eBay launched a beta version of a local services marketplace in the U.S. in the fall. The FAQs for eBay Hire states:

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eBay Hire is a beta program that allows local service providers (or Service Pros) to market their services directly to eBay customers in their area. In an effort to continue to connect users to the things they need and love, eBay Hire will expand on eBay’s offering with the addition of services in the world’s largest online marketplace.

In April, eBay uploaded a video to Youtube, displayed on the eBay Hire website, explaining the concept, but the program remains in beta, and listings are not visible without signing in. It’s not clear if Wenig was referring to the eBay Hire local services pilot or if eBay is testing yet another program, perhaps specifically targeted at eBay Motors.

eBay has tried offering local services in the past. In 2007, eBay UK (and eBay Australia) launched “Local Services.” eBay UK shut it down in 2010, advising members to use its Gumtree classifieds sites if they wished to advertise their local services. eBay UK tried again last year, launching eBay Hire on Hire.eBay.co.uk. The site now redirects to the eBay UK homepage.

During the interview, Wenig also made light of Google’s action against eBay in search results, telling Bloomberg it was “nothing unusual.”

As for China-based competitor Alibaba, which recently launched U.S. shopping marketplace 11Main.com, Wenig said, “I don’t have any problem with Alibaba coming in the U.S. or Western Europe, as long as we have an equal chance in China.”

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Ina Steiner

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. Send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.


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