EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2420 - November 24, 2010     3 of 3

eBay Exec Takes Social Commerce Ideas and Launches Yardsellr

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A former eBay executive has raised $5 million for his startup Yardsellr, a social commerce site. As we reported in May, Daniel Leffel founded Yardsellr in October 2009 with seed money from another former eBayer, Michael Dearing, through Dearing's venture capital firm Harrison Metal Capital.

When we spoke to Leffel in May, he said he got many of the ideas for Yardsellr when he was working at eBay on the eBay 3.0 project. Yardsellr connects users through Facebook, but many ecommerce platforms on Facebook have a limited reach, only connecting with friends and friends' of friends. This week, Leffel told AuctionBytes how Yardsellr gets around the limitation of a person's social network while still remaining "social":

"The Yardsellr shopping experience is organized around "Blocks" (think yard sale/neighborhood metaphor) instead of categories because categories organize products while Blocks organize people. Yardsellr blocks are really hundreds of micro-communities totalling more than 1.3 million people who are passionate about particular types of products (e.g. Guitars, Scrapbooking, Jewelry, etc.). New people join blocks every day by liking them on Facebook, following them on Twitter or joining on Yardsellr.com. When sellers list items, the listings are distributed widely into the feeds of members who have joined the relevant blocks."

Yardsellr is unique in that it charges fees to buyers, not sellers. Ronald Lewis of BigTimeTech.com is a fan of Yardsellr. He said he sold two items in the first 2 weeks of using Yardsellr, and said he saw a 20% increase in traffic to his website on the key items that get the most feedback on Yardsellr.

Leffel explained how sellers can leverage Yardsellr to connect with users that could lead to increased exposure for a user's own site in this interview on Ecommerce Industry Soundbytes.

Dearing, who left eBay in 2006, recently tweeted his advice for another social commerce startup, Groupon, which is looking for funding: "Dear @groupon, do not sell yourself to eBay. Else you will find yourself in a "turnaround" that is lasting the better part of a decade." Dearing was apparently referencing CEO John Donahoe's multi-year plan to turnaround eBay marketplaces' flagging performance.

Listen to the podcast interview with Danny Leffel on AuctionBytes' Ecommerce Industry Soundbytes.


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 ina@ecommercebytes.com.


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