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Tue Jan 2 2007 21:30:29

eBay Developers Program Like Dating the Boss

By: Ina Steiner

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I've always been fascinated by the relationship between eBay and third-party providers. It must feel at times to developers like dating their boss or landlord (or both rolled into one) - a fruitful arrangement fraught with peril. Here's a comment from a developer taken from a December 2006 case study in CIOInsight.com:

Still, the relationship between eBay and its developers can be complicated. "They have been very helpful to us, but they also launched their own tool in our space," says Dave Frey, Terapeak's director of marketing. "They see it as choice in the marketplace, and so do we. Not every eBay seller loves eBay, so we provide something important even when they are in the same market." Sometimes, eBay likes a product so much it buys it, as in the case of a company called CARad, which makes a specialized application for listing products for sale at eBay's automotive site. "This a new wave of business," says Frey. "eBay is a supplier, a marketing channel and a competitor. It's a weird arrangement."

Not only can eBay examine its developers' tools and launch competing products, it has control over what features those developers can offer, even to the point the developer's tool is made impotent. eBay can also ban a tool altogether. When eBay cites Trust & Safety concerns in limiting features and tools, it is often valid, but it's open for debate as to whether that's always the case.




Comments (2) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Developers Program Like Dating the Boss   eBay Developers Program Like Dating the Boss

by: Jim

Wed Jan 3 05:07:33 2007

Like many, I think the monopoly that Ebay hold is quite unhealthy.

The true tenets of capitalism is based on competition, and the fact that Ebay dominate the e-commerce industry means that there's no-one to really keep Ebay on their toes (except Google maybe?).

I'm wondering if the monopoly the Ebay hold is skating into legally murkey waters.  It may not be the case in the US, but here in the UK we have a 'competition commission'. It was this very organisation which prevented Rupert Murdoch from completing a takeover of the Channel 5 tv station. Maybe they should be looking at Ebay now? Particularly in the light that Ebay have banned Google Checkout despite Paypal monopolising the payments market.

http://www.competition-commission.org.uk/

eBay Developers Program Like Dating the Boss   eBay Developers Program Like Dating the Boss

by: Sunny

Wed Jan 3 13:17:16 2007

eBay tries very hard to satisfy customers and business partners from all walks of life.  Every inidividual or business has its own preference on how eBay should work.  Auction tools developers make might work well for a few individuals, but those tools should not in anyway hurt the rest of the eBay community.  So I think it's great that eBay is keeping a close watch on what can be used in the community to enhance user buying / selling experience.  From this perspective, it's not really an act of monopolization.  Those are my 2 cents :-)



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