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eBay Opens Up Wide to Developers

The eBay developer's program is expanding its reach with a new platform, new APIs and a new way for developers to get in front of eBay sellers. The new initiatives come as eBay kicks off its annual developers conference in Chicago this week.

The new platform initiatives are significant in that they enable developers even more opportunities to make more money with eBay. EBay claims that their developer program currently has 70,000 members who have created approximately 12,000 live applications.

"We're announcing opening up the eBay.com site for developers and in the process enabling a new monetization channel for developers," Kumar Kandaswamy, Senior Manager, Developer Platform Strategy, eBay Developers Program, told InternetNews.com. "With Project Echo, the next generation eBay platform that is being announced, developers can embed their applications where hundreds of thousands of sellers manage their businesses on the eBay.com site."

Kandaswamy noted that there are built in tools for eBay sellers today, but as sellers grow their businesses the need for additional capabilities have grown; the new developer initiative.

"One of the tools that eBay provides is the selling manager tool and we have over 700,000 sellers subscribing to the tool," Kandaswamy explained. "What we are allowing developers to do is to embed their application through this framework where their applications will show up as an advanced selling feature so sellers could subscribe to the feature."

In addition to the new distribution mechanism for developers, eBay is also rolling out new Project Echo based APIs . Among them is a buyer segmentation API that will provide developers with data on buyer habits and demographics in order to further tailor and improve the selling process.

Additionally Kandaswamy noted that another new Project Echo based public API is one for inventory data. Currently, the eBay selling manager application has inventory capability but it's not a public API.

"The theme of all the APIs is to make easier is easier for developers to meet the need of sellers," Kandaswamy said.

The full Project Echo is currently in a pilot and is not expected to be widely available until 2009.

And for users …

On the currently publicly available eBay platform, eBay is rolling out new APIs that users can benefit from today, among them is a Merchandising API.

"As the name suggests the merchandising API is enabling applications to show product and item which could be used to upsell and cross-sell eBay items," Kandaswamy explained.

On a final note, eBay is also now finally making publicly available the eBay Client Alert API that was first announced at the eBay developer conference in 2008.

"This API allows lightweight near real time alerts about activities on the eBay platform," Kandaswamy explained.

At a core level, eBay's developer program is focused on developer usability, which is where all of the new initiatives fit in.

"With Echo we're addressing distribution and discoverability," Kandaswamy said. "We want to make sure sellers can find solutions and use them as they are scaling their business."