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Sun Sept 30 2012 19:25:02

eBay Could Play a New Tune in Mobile Advertising

By: Brian Cohen

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eBay's plans for mobile may surprise you, and it just might be music to your ears. With Apple in its crosshairs, eBay recently filed patent application 20120215643 with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, "Method And Process Of Using A Musical Collective To Determine Preferences Of A Social Group And Target Advertisements Based Upon That Group." Also in eBay's sites are established players such as Spotify, Pandora, Last.fm, Muzak and Amazon.

Before we begin sifting through eBay's patent to find plain English (patents are difficult to read), we should take a look at how Muzak Holding (a.k.a The "Elevator Music" Company), founded in 1934, publicizes their music strategy:

"A soundtrack for your business... The power of music is undeniable. Music creates a connection and sets a mood. It can motivate, attract and engage. It can be a competitive advantage and a reason for customers to come in and come back. Let Muzak help you use the widest selection of fully licensed music programming to create an environment that will enhance your brand and build your business."

With Muzak setting the stage, I present to you the following extracts from eBay patent application:



"Traditionally, music performed in various establishments, such as restaurants and bars, is based upon a musical preference of an individual patron of the establishment. The musical preference may be in the form of music played by the individual patron on, for example, a Jukebox... However, the musical choices made by the individual patron could be annoying to other patrons in the establishment that do not share similar musical tastes. Typically, one way in which an establishment addresses this issue is merely to select what is assumed to be the most popular music, for a given venue or geographical region, and predominantly play that type of music..."

"(The Invention) samples and evaluates the musical collective of a current set of patrons within or in geographic proximity to an establishment (e.g., a local restaurant of bar) to determine an overall musical preference (e.g., what songs to play within the establishment)... The musical preferences can be continuously changing based upon various ones of the current patrons entering and leaving the establishment. The musical play-list can be changed commensurately with the current patrons. The establishment could set preferences to a predetermined "tolerance level" to match its current set of target patrons..."

"...For example, using a service such as the Genius feature, developed by Apple(R) Inc. of Cupertino, Calif., USA, the establishment can determine the best songs to play based on the current set of patrons. The Genius feature automatically generates a play-list of songs from an end-user's library which are similar to a selected song..."

"...Additionally, the establishment can have the play-list available to each patron while or after the patron is in the establishment. Each patron is given an option to vote on the play-list. A result of the voting could set a preference; for example, play the highest rated play-list the next time a particular patron visits the establishment..."

"...advertisements related to the generated play-list can be transmitted to the electronic devices of the patrons. ... ability to target advertisements to each patron based upon the musical preferences of the current patrons... (The) advertisements the end-user is willing to accept (is) based on factors such as types of clothing, price range of merchandise, content rating (e.g., general or mature audiences), or a number of other factors..."

"...A determination of what advertisements to deliver also may depend upon factors such as the amount that different advertisement campaign providers are willing to pay to have their advertisements delivered to an end-user having a particular profile, or to have their advertisements associated with particular content, or to have their advertisements matched to a particular end-user/preference combination. The amounts can be determined, for example, through a competitive bidding process..."



Basically music is being used as a way to categorize consumers so that advertisers can make assumptions about them. However, it is a bit peculiar that eBay would apply for this patent because it appears that eBay would have to use data compiled or collected by a third party rather than building upon this in-house.

Although one might assume that eBay filed this patent application on the sly for its subsidiary StubHub where you can purchase music concert tickets, that would not explain why StubHub continues to file for its own patents. Most recently StubHub filed for "System and method for managing group ticket procurement"... for "coordinating the sale of tickets to groups of people who want to sit together at the event, but pay for their tickets separately."

What's even more surprising about this patent filing is that while the dying format Compact Disc can be purchased on eBay and Half.com, MP3s are hard to come by on eBay's site and are not sold in a standardized way such as that on Amazon or iTunes.

eBay's policy on listing MP3s is as follows: "MP3 music you wrote, recorded, and own all the rights to."

Without a digital music library of its own, eBay would have to integrate this technology with a third party such as with Apple's iTunes. Or perhaps more likely use this patent as a monkey wrench (patent troll?) when one of the other players attempts to implement a system of their own.  

One might speculate who eBay might partner with this. I suspect a partner may be Starbucks (or Concord Music Group) who acquired Hear Music - also see, Do You Hear What Starbucks Hears? July 1, 2004, which may have learned from its unsuccessful music strategy - (see Starbucks Refines Its Entertainment Strategy, Fast Company, Apr 24, 2008.

Does eBay have a digital music library strategy and do they actually plan on implementing this technology? Discuss!

About the Author
Brian Cohen has been an active member of the eBay community since May 1998. He currently trades under the member name Bidofthis.com. His first AuctionBytes article was published in May 2002. Brian can be contacted through his website at BidofThis.com where he always has a "little Bid of This and little Bid of That."




Comments (11) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Could Play a New Tune in Mobile Advertising   eBay Could Play a New Tune in Mobile Advertising

This user has validated their user name. by: Al G

Mon Oct 1 08:10:20 2012

Let's see.

I walk into an Italian restaurant. The sensors in the entryway detect my smart phone & the restaurant's server makes an inquiry at ebay's (lower case only now!) music server & learns that I don't listen to Julius Caesar (opera BTW), but am partial to obscure Tuscan folksongs played by an accordian & pan-pipe.

The next tune on the sound system (or video if it is a lower class joint) will play my preferece. That done, I sit down with my party, and, during the decision and discussion of whether to order a bottle of red or a bottle of whites, my phone jiggles discretely with an ad saying my favourite Tuscan musicians are appearing only two states over and discount tickets are available on Stub-Hub.

Is this where we are heading?

I won't even go into conflict resolution when the restaurant's patrons have diametrically opposed musical tastes (hip-hop and Gregorian chants - think about that).


What happens when I just want to have a hot dog at a street cart? The vendor unfolds a touch screen so I can sign up for something whilst he puts mustard & sauerkraut on my doggie?

Sometimes, population control (of MBAs) is a good thing.

Thanks for the opportunity for my Monday morning rant. The coffee is just starting to cut off now & I'm heading back for a refill.

eBay Could Play a New Tune in Mobile Advertising   eBay Could Play a New Tune in Mobile Advertising

by: mylifeisgood This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 1 08:22:24 2012

I must be one of those weird people....I manage to leave home without that mobile device...To bad other people can't.

eBay Could Play a New Tune in Mobile Advertising   eBay Could Play a New Tune in Mobile Advertising

This user has validated their user name. by: permacrisis

Mon Oct 1 09:22:35 2012

Wow man, they really want to get all up in your sh*t now don't they.

We have to target, acquire, analyze, categorize and make assumptions about people using whiz-bang technologies to gain the advantage.

Because helping people list and sell their used stuff in a time ending soonest auction format was just too hard, too technologically challenging!

When and if Yahoo Auctions US starts back up again, don't come crying to us, we freakin' WAITED for you (ebay) to perform a head-out-of-butt extraction, man.

Only a room full of huge egos would chop Marketplaces down from 60 billion in 2005 to 30 billion in 2011 in the name of 'cleaning up' the site.

If you wanted to learn something about us, you bozos, you should have followed our frenzied buying and selling behavior ON YOUR SITE when it ran right!

Years ago a friend and I got into an argument about iTunes and profiling, and he scoffed that the above article would never happen. Gonna forward  him this link...

eBay Could Play a New Tune in Mobile Advertising   eBay Could Play a New Tune in Mobile Advertising

This user has validated their user name. by: Al G

Mon Oct 1 14:11:21 2012

@mylifeisgood

You've been profiled - too.

Old fart with no cash to spend on frivolous, vapid things.

Don't worry, you'll still get junkque mail, but only in solid form.

8~)

eBay Could Play a New Tune in Mobile Advertising   eBay Could Play a New Tune in Mobile Advertising

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Mon Oct 1 15:06:23 2012

What a load of utter rubbish; no wonder the real business of eBay is atrophying, all the headless turkeys running around in circles in the eBay executive suite are clearly off with the fairies …

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

eBay Could Play a New Tune in Mobile Advertising   eBay Could Play a New Tune in Mobile Advertising

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Mon Oct 1 16:35:42 2012

eBay: Jack of all trades, master of NOTHING.

eBay Could Play a New Tune in Mobile Advertising   eBay Could Play a New Tune in Mobile Advertising

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Mon Oct 1 20:37:15 2012

"Jack of all trades"? Jack usually has a degree of competence; eBay appears to be totally devoid of any …

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

eBay Could Play a New Tune in Mobile Advertising   eBay Could Play a New Tune in Mobile Advertising

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Mon Oct 1 22:07:21 2012

Good point, Philip! ;-)

eBay Could Play a New Tune in Mobile Advertising   eBay Could Play a New Tune in Mobile Advertising

This user has validated their user name. by: Spartacus

Mon Oct 1 23:18:23 2012

Correction Philip, eBay is good at one thing.... Finding innovative ways to charge sellers more fees for a service that has been going steadily downhill for years now.

eBay Could Play a New Tune in Mobile Advertising   eBay Could Play a New Tune in Mobile Advertising

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Tue Oct 2 00:11:18 2012

Correction Spartacus, what service?

eBay Could Play a New Tune in Mobile Advertising   eBay Could Play a New Tune in Mobile Advertising

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Oct 3 10:42:37 2012

ebay has adopted the SONY method of doing business ...

Do a whole lot of nothing, roll out products that dont make sence and dont work, complain, moan and whine that it's someone elses fault (in ebay its the small to medium seller, in Sonys ''the internets'') and then when things don't work out (in ebay's case - its stock is still the same basic price as it always has been/sellers and customers are leaving, & in Sonys case - millions and billions of lost revenue quarter after quarter) and NEITHER of them learn!

MOVE BOXES!

Stop monkeying around, stop getting up in peoples business, stop suing or trying to sue people, stop fixing things that werent broken and concentrate on business - connecting people and product(s).

They can patent this and no one will care (again). They rolled back the stupid card catalog idea, let them now roll back Noah Hershman and JD.

eBay always was about that connection - not trying to guess what crap you and your wizbang monkeys can think of/do.

Hey JD - what music plays when VERO emails people - when it goes against Lanham, First Sale and the DMCA ...? The Imperial March?? (star wars) ????  



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