eBay kicked up a stir with its Live-Pets policy proposal last weekend (link), but what's also intriguing is the indication they're moving into classifieds.
An eBay Motors-Google Maps mashup shows how eBay listings can be "localized" (link).In classifieds, it's vital to be able to limit results to listings near the searcher. If I'm looking for apartments or services such as pet-walkers, I want to zero in on those in my hometown.
Local has never been eBay's strong point despite best efforts, but as Trachtenberg's mashup shows, it can be done through creative applications.
One thing eBay may not have considered, or may not be concerned about, is seller concerns over the localization of listings on eBay. Back in 2004, eBay changed its location searching so that members could sort search results by distance from their Zip Code (link).
At the time, some sellers were quite peeved when their listings revealed their zip code (users can change their settings to prevent this). Apparently in some low-population areas, sellers feared this would help identify them to an uncomfortable degree.
If eBay is indeed headed toward more classified format listings, expect to see more map-based applications, especially since eBay is encouraging developers to get creative. Hopefully such applications will rely only on information sellers choose to reveal about themselves.