Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Tue Oct 8 2019 11:19:51

Ecommerce Patent: Text eBay to Sell Your Phone

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay wants to make selling your phone as easy as sending a text. In a patent application, eBay describes some of the challenges of selling on its platform. Time consuming, burdensome, and inaccuracies are among the challenges it describes:

"Many electronic marketplaces allow individuals to list various items for sale. To list items for sale, users may be required to enter information about their items, which may be time consuming and/or inaccurate. Some individuals may find the time it takes to list an item for sale in a marketplace as too burdensome. Moreover, inaccuracies in a listing can lead to a number of problems including a lack of trust between buyers, sellers, and the marketplace."

Given the higher average selling price of used electronic devices, and the pace at which people upgrade, it's not surprising eBay devotes resources to trying to make reselling them easier.

For electronics, eBay envisions making the listing process as easy as sending a text in part by allowing marketplaces to extract specifications of the device from metadata that accompanies the text message, including the device's serial number.

In a graphic, it describes the process as follows:

- Receive a message from a user device with component metadata.
- Parse the metadata.
- Determine a sales price for the user device from the metadata.
- Create a product listing for the user device in a marketplace.
- Send an indication to a user that a listing has been created.
- Receive approval from the user.
- List the user device in the marketplace.

Digging deeper, the patent describes the use of a "user profile database" to ease the listing process - among the information eBay imagines such a database might include is the following: 

- Demographic data: age, gender, ethnicity; 

- Behavioral data: "a shopping history, a purchasing history, items most recently viewed, items most recent items purchased, items most recent items placed in a virtual shopping cart but not purchased, preferred shipping options"; 

- Personal and financial information: user location and "credit card information, listing information, an address, a telephone number, etc."

The patent indicates the user profile database might also include listing preferences: "The listing preferences of a user may include auction preferences, auction duration preferences, shipping preferences, store front graphics, store name, user name, comments, ratings, payment preference, or some combination thereof."

The patent application is found on the USPTO.gov website - let us know what you think!

Comments (13) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Ecommerce Patent: Text eBay to Sell Your Phone   Ecommerce Patent: Text eBay to Sell Your Phone

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Tue Oct 8 12:55:47 2019

Have any of the ideas eBay has filed a patent for ever come to fruition? Filing for a patent is not a cheap process, even if they have a boatload of attorneys on retainer. And if eBay plans on doing all the work ("Create a product listing for the user device in a marketplace."), how much is that going to cost the seller? Also, if you're sending a text, how is that going to inform eBay if your screen is cracked, the dog chewed the case, or the port where you plug in the charger works sporadically?

Also, from reading Ina's synopsis (I tried to read through the patent application but it was akin to reading stereo instructions), it seems as though the service could include sites other than eBay.

Perminate Link for Ecommerce Patent: Text eBay to Sell Your Phone   Ecommerce Patent: Text eBay to Sell Your Phone

by: shut1968 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 8 13:52:29 2019

Another useless idea

Perminate Link for Ecommerce Patent: Text eBay to Sell Your Phone   Ecommerce Patent: Text eBay to Sell Your Phone

by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 8 14:10:37 2019

As an example:  I have five old phones I no longer use. I see nothing in this that would help me sale one or all.

Perminate Link for Ecommerce Patent: Text eBay to Sell Your Phone   Ecommerce Patent: Text eBay to Sell Your Phone

This user has validated their user name. by: NoMoreEbay

Tue Oct 8 14:22:36 2019

If ebay would stop wasting so much time on this type of nonsense and devote some time, any time to fixing the train wreck already in place, they may go from being hated to barely tolerable.

This ridiculous idea like 99% of ebay's rare ideas will never ever see the light of day.

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 8 15:55:36 2019

This patent should be called the "eBay Electronic Phone Theft Act"

Right after you send eBay "metadata" about your phone - it gets sold, the buyer cries SNAD and eBay steals the money from the seller...

Dont we have this already - its called LARCENY, no ?

Perminate Link for Ecommerce Patent: Text eBay to Sell Your Phone   Ecommerce Patent: Text eBay to Sell Your Phone

by: RL15 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 8 16:19:19 2019

they should just try to fix search to how it was before the Bain idiots destroyed it

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This user has validated their user name. by: Lightning

Tue Oct 8 18:51:06 2019

I see a timing problem with this.  I think most people sell their phone AFTER they buy a new one.  That way they have it on hand to make sure the transition is a smooth one, and that the new phone is performing properly.  If they have already bought the new one and switched over, how are they texting from the one they want to sell?  Wouldn't it be off the network at that time?  Does anyone sell their phone and go phone-less while they shop for a new one?

I guess you could send the text from the one you want to sell, approve the listing, quickly buy a new phone, get that transferred onto the existing network, attract a buyer for the old phone, and ship it.  Sounds a bit rushed.  But hey, what could go wrong?

Perminate Link for Ecommerce Patent: Text eBay to Sell Your Phone   Ecommerce Patent: Text eBay to Sell Your Phone

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Tue Oct 8 19:41:50 2019

Lightning asks: "If they have already bought the new one and switched over, how are they texting from the one they want to sell?"

All my old phones (retired because I busted the screen, and it was cheaper to buy a new phone than repair the old one) (I buy $200 phones not $1K phones) still have their SIM cards, and I was told I could use them as back-ups. So it would be easy to to text from your old phone, provided they didn't move the SIM card to the new phone. If a person has a tethered phone (I have one for my second account in Pokemon Go) they couldn't text from it..

Perminate Link for Ecommerce Patent: Text eBay to Sell Your Phone   Ecommerce Patent: Text eBay to Sell Your Phone

This user has validated their user name. by: Bill

Tue Oct 8 23:37:40 2019

I like Ina's first paragraph because it describes eBay completely.

This thing will never work simply because most people either trade in their phone or switch the SIm card out into the new phone.

A complete waste of time and money and knowing how long the patent takes to get it through the system this might have been another reason Wenig was "removed".

This is totally absurd which "Wing Nut" was known for

eBay = Dead Man Walking

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This user has validated their user name. by: Lightning

Wed Oct 9 18:55:08 2019

@iheartjacksparrow
It would be true that the old phone you kept could be used as a backup, but not as is.  Even with its sim card intact, that phone has no account, unless you have multiple accounts that you are paying for.  To use it as a backup means that if the new phone died, you could transfer the sim card from the new phone BACK to the old phone, presuming they are compatible.  Technically, the sim IS the phone.  So the networks recognizes the sim account as live, regardless of which phone body you are using.  You can also always use an old phone to dial 911 at any time.

But you did bring up the single case where you could text from your old phone.  Putting the sim back into the old phone would re-enable it, so you could send that text.  And then just move the sim back to the new phone.  Some phones don't have sims at all, though, different architecture.

Perminate Link for Ecommerce Patent: Text eBay to Sell Your Phone   Ecommerce Patent: Text eBay to Sell Your Phone

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Thu Oct 10 01:37:29 2019

@Lightning - I don't know what brand of phone you have, or what carrier, I can only speak to the phones I have. I have three old Android phones, and my carrier is T-Mobile. In every instance when I bought a new phone, the old SIM card stayed with the old phone, and I got a new SIM card with the new phone. As I previously stated, I was told I could use the old phones as back-ups and, in fact, each of those phones was at one time used to play my second account on Pokemon Go. I have never been charged an additional fee for my old phones still being connected. The current phone I'm using for my second Pokemon Go account is unlocked with no SIM card, tethered to my current main phone. It works just like any mobile phone, with the exception that I cannot get phone calls or text messages. But I can download anything from the Play Store, connect to the internet, and send and receive emails.    

Perminate Link for Ecommerce Patent: Text eBay to Sell Your Phone   Ecommerce Patent: Text eBay to Sell Your Phone

This user has validated their user name. by: Bill

Thu Oct 10 02:02:55 2019

Without a SIM card you can not make calls but the phone is still wired to the be able to access the internet as long as you have WiFi available to that phone. Conceivably you could use that phone to text using the internet but most people do not know how to do that (VOIP).

Perminate Link for Ecommerce Patent: Text eBay to Sell Your Phone   Ecommerce Patent: Text eBay to Sell Your Phone

This user has validated their user name. by: Lightning

Thu Oct 10 08:57:15 2019

@jack
''The current phone I'm using for my second Pokemon Go account is unlocked with no SIM card, tethered to my current main phone. It works just like any mobile phone, with the exception that I cannot get phone calls or text messages.''

Yes, what you are describing is what @Bill is pointing out - using the old phone as an internet-enabled device.  But you can't call, get calls, send texts, or receive texts directly from it, as the eBay patent would want you to do.  It has no calling/text account of its own, unless you pay for multiple accounts, like a family plan.  But you can exchange sim cards, using the newer one to send the required text, and then swap back.  If you HAVE a sim card.  Some don't, so that plan is in the dumper for those phones.

My original point is most people sell their phone AFTER they buy a new one, and the eBay patent of texting to sell it will be difficult or inconvenient.  People gravitate toward ''easy'', and away from difficult, so useless.  It's not that hard to sell a phone through the normal process, but they are trying to re-invent the wheel.



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