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Alibaba Sells eBay Selling Tools and US Marketplace

Alibaba sold its eBay selling tools and 11 Main marketplace to a little known marketplace called OpenSky last week, and took a 37% share in the company. A person familiar with the matter said that at least in the short term, sellers should expect no changes.

Alibaba launched the 11 Main marketplace last year – 11 Main spokesperson Abbygail Reyes confirmed on Monday it has more than 3,000 shops and more than 2.5 million product listings, and she said 11 Main continues to add sellers to the platform.

“OpenSky and 11 Main have merged,” Reyes explained. “OpenSky is an independent company. Alibaba is a minority shareholder in OpenSky.”

Asked what she would tell sellers who were nervous that eBay listing tools provided by Auctiva and Vendio might go away, she said “Auctiva and Vendio are core to the company and we are continuing our investment in these businesses.”

And she confirmed that two key executives remain at 11 Main – Jeff Schlicht, who had headed Auctiva, and Mike Effle, who had headed Vendio, and who had stayed on after those companies were acquired by Alibaba.

For those wondering if the move gives any indication about whether Alibaba wishes to acquire eBay after it splits with PayPal later this year, here’s something else to mull over: Alibaba founder Jack Ma gave several speeches in the U.S. recently and, as this company blog post proclaims, Alibaba has no plans to invade America.

So what is OpenSky? It brings small and medium sized merchants together with shoppers. According to its website:

By combining our consumer marketplace with an automated, data-driven, performance-based sales and marketing solution, OpenSky has created the first end-to-end online and mobile commerce platform that helps small and medium sized businesses grow by creating highly targeted, personalized shopping experiences for shoppers around the world.

On a page set up to entice sellers to join, OpenSky explains sellers pay a variable commission when their items sell:

    • You will keep 100% of sales that result from any Co-Pilot marketing efforts;


  • When an existing OpenSky customer discovers your store and makes a purchase, you will keep 80% of that sale.


  • If we feature your products in emails, on-site collections or off-site campaigns, you will keep 70% of that sale.

An Alibaba Group spokesperson told EcommerceBytes, “OpenSky and 11 Main will be joining forces, and we believe together the combined business will be a strong and healthy independent company in which Alibaba will continue to have a significant equity stake.”

If you’ve got opinions about the merger of OpenSky and 11 Main or have experience using those marketplaces, please let us know.

Comment on the EcommerceBytes Blog.

Edited on 6/23/15 to add Alibaba’s statement.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
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.