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Mon Jan 23 2006 09:59:51

The eBay Closet

By: Ina Steiner

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USA Today reporter Kevin Maney blogged about "the eBay Closet" last week (link). He said he was interviewing Mick McManus, head of a company called MAYA Design, who had a "throwaway idea" he calls the eBay Closet based on RFID technology. (RFID are tracking tags - see wikipedia for more info - link).

His idea is that someday, consumers could get peel-and-stick, pre-programmed radio readers from eBay, and put them on items they don't use much and would like to get rid of. "The readers sense your stuff, connect to eBay, and automatically put each of your items up for an open-ended bid - in other words, you’re not bound to accept any bid and the bidding never has to end." Eventually you get an acceptable bid, and bingo! You've sold your item.

But what McManus failed to take into account is the eBay fees (they don't let you list items for free), and all the post-sale work sellers would still have to do. It's an over-simplified description of the eBay selling process, I think McManus vastly underestimates the work that is still involved in selling stuff from the eBay Closet. But I think dreaming of idealistic scenarios is the kind of thinking that may lead to product innovation. Any idea that might make online selling easier is worth pondering.

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