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Macromedia Bids For More eBay Users

eBay sellers have a new content management tool to help them post storefronts faster, thanks to a newly customized Macromedia toolset.

The Web graphics software maker said it is offering a customized version of Macromedia Contribute 3 for eBay products that simplifies the way that stores are built and customized. The special version is due out in mid-November but is only available from Macromedia's Web site (USD$99) as a Windows-compatible platform and only works with U.S. eBay Stores.

Designed with the non-technical user in mind, the software includes easy-to-follow, step-by-step wizards, so any eBay user can quickly design and publish a professional store featuring logos, images, descriptions, product categories, product showcases, and product search.

Existing Contribute 3 users can keep up on the improvements by downloading a free extension from Macromedia's partner WebAssist Web site

The two companies have been in on the ground floor of getting the program launched. For example, Macromedia is a member of the eBay Developers Program. As a member, its application is enabled by the eBay application programming interface (API) and certified by the eBay Developers Program.

"The integration accomplished by our partner WebAssist demonstrates the power of the eBay API and the flexibility of the Contribute product platform," Erik Larson, director of product management of Macromedia, said in a statement.

Macromedia's latest version of Contribute adds WebDAV support and incorporates the engine for Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) rendering from the company's Dreamweaver MX 2004 software platform. Version 3.0 of Macromedia's Contribute also has a new external editing feature that allows for a technical review and editing of Web page source code in an external HTML editor (such as Dreamweaver) before publishing. Contribute 3 also includes better support for editing a wider range of Web sites, improved image editing capabilities, and better integration with Microsoft Office.

"Bringing instant publishing with professional quality to eBay's community of online merchants will help them as they create and maintain their stores," Larson said.

Although several different types of content management tools are available on the market today, Macromedia said this version of Contribute will ship with more than 800 professionally designed templates for common eBay Store pages.

"eBay customers can get better tools to build stores and supporting sites," said JupiterResearch analyst Eric Peterson. "eBay gets better looking product listings and stores driving traffic to eBay.com and finally Macromedia gets access to a large audience of motivated sellers. The risk is that eBay doesn't support the marketing effort, in which case Macromedia loses momentum and the software doesn't take off." (JupiterResearch is owned by the same parent company of this Web site.)

The result, said Macromedia and eBay, is that Contribute translates the store design into standards-based code that renders consistently across all popular platforms and browsers.

"eBay Stores is an online selling solution that is used by hundreds of thousands of sellers to build their own customized online store," said Julian Green, senior manager of eBay Stores. "This combination empowers a whole new class of sellers to deliver high-quality and highly efficient online stores."