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RealTime IT News

eBay Acquires in India; Flirts with Developers

Online auction giant eBay is in an expansion mode on the acquisition front and with software developers as well.

On the day it announced plans to shell out $50 million to acquire Baazee.com, Inc., a Web marketplace based in India, eBay will open up its heralded Web Services platform for the first time to members of its affiliate program and roll out a new software development kit (SDK) for Microsoft ASP.NET programmers.

The announcements come on the eve of its third annual eBay Live! community conference in New Orleans, where it is also expected to announced the launch of the eBay Solutions Directory to showcase third-party software and services.

In recent months, eBay has been busy inking distribution deals and flirting with developers that use tools from companies like Microsoft and Borland.

With the expansion of the affiliate program to include access to Web Services, eBay will offer access to real-time information for all of its 25 million auction listings. The plan is to let small teams of developers use the Web Services API to create new ways of pushing business to their eBay auctions.

Typically, the eBay Web Services platform can be used to push things like real-time pricing, specific product details and bidding times for millions of listing to third-party sites. In addition, affiliates now get a way to integrate actual product images into their sites.

During pilot testing, the company said affiliates using the eBay API were increasing monthly commissions by an average of 30 percent.

Affiliates certified with the program get free access to up to 3 million API calls a day. There is a one-time sign-up fee of $250 but, after that, there are no membership fees of incremental call fees for participation in the program, eBay said.

The company's PayPal unit also got into the act, releasing an SDK for Microsoft .NET programmers as a free download to members of the PayPal Developer Network.

The SDK comes equipped with controls, scripts and sample applications that lets developers plug directly into PayPal's platform to power things like Website payments, instant payment notifications and payment data transfers.

It provides developers with access to seven PayPal Web controls: Buy Now, Add to Cart, View Cart, Checkout, Upload Aggregate Cart, Upload Complete Card and Subscription.

On the business front, eBay's international expansion ramped up with the purchase of Baazee.com, which is styled as India's biggest online marketplace where anyone can sell or buy almost anything.

The deal gives eBay a significant presence in the nascent e-commerce sector in the heavily populated country and adds more than one million confirmed registered users to eBay's popular trading marketplace.

eBay chief executive Meg Whitman called the Baazee.com deal a "natural fit" even though the e-commerce market in India is in "early days."