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Sun June 11 2006 11:24:43

DevCon Impressions Saturday Night

By: Ina Steiner

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I had a chance to talk to the heads of the developers program for eBay, PayPal and Skype. I expect Meg might give more insight into Skype at her keynote Tuesday evening (as well as hyping eBay Express), but there was nothing new to report as of yet. Skype is integrated with eBay in some countries already, of course.

But what was interesting to me is that Lenn Pryor came from heading the developers program at Microsoft. He was there 8 years and started Channel 9, which is video for geeks. ☺ I imagine it's quite an asset for Skype to have such an experienced dev guy, and he was nice, to boot. Already the hardware developers have gone to work on integrating skype features in their phones, it will be interesting to see what kinds of software applications may be developed.

The talk was all over the place today (Saturday), but the new API calls and AdContext program was the big news. The AdContext program, which eBay previewed to developers (Reuters broke it Saturday), will be officially announced Monday.

The response was very positive and people I spoke to compared it to Google contextual ads. Basically websites and bloggers who are participants in eBay's affiliate program can place the feature on their websites and it will display eBay listings related to the content that appears on the page. So for example, a blog post about McCoy pottery would generate eBay ads for McCoy pottery items on that page.

In addition to competing somewhat with Google adwords, it also competes somewhat with Yahoo Search Marketing, interesting given the relationship eBay entered into with Yahoo recently.

eBay's affiliate program is quite generous, and I expect affiliates to be excited about it.

Bottom line for sellers - if it drives traffic to their items, it's a good thing.

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