Microsoft Live Expo Joins Google Base in Going after eBay
By Ina Steiner
The ecommerce space continues to heat up with eBay competitors releasing services that are a cross between classified ads and eBay fixed-price listings.
Microsoft launched its free online marketplace on Tuesday. Windows Live Expo, which had been code-named Fremont in alpha testing, is still in beta testing mode and is available only to U.S. customers. The service expands the traditional classified ad concept by providing social networking and community features.
Last week, Google revealed it was adding functionality to its online billing and payments service that will allow users to pay for online purchases. Google Base is the company's new service for allowing users to add content, including classified ads.
And eBay itself will be launching a shopping service called eBay Express to make it easier and supposedly safer for shoppers to find and purchase items. eBay owns a 25 percent share in classifieds site Craigslist and owns Rent.com and an international classifieds service called Kijiji.
Shoppers on Microsoft's new Windows Live Expo can limit searches geographically, and listings are integrated with MSN's satellite-image-based service. Customers can choose to view listings specific to their MSN Messenger Contact List or personal email groups, which it hopes will add a level of trust in transactions. Expo is also integrated with MSN Messenger so buyers and sellers can discuss deals via instant messaging.
Windows Live Expo provides customers with a Windows Live Expo-only inbox. All messages and inquiries regarding a customer's listings are sent directly to and from the customer's anonymous Windows Live Expo message inbox. This feature helps prevent others from seeing a customer's personal email address, which in turn reduces the opportunity for spam or phishing attacks to reach a user's personal email inbox.
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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