eBay to Offer Rich Media Banners

Online auction giant eBay now will offer its sellers the ability to buy rich media banner ads.

Following an agreement with Fairfax, Va.-based Amazing Media, members of eBay’s PowerSellers program — which is geared toward full-time, professional sellers — will be able to design and implement animated ads across the site. Ideally, the offering should help traders promote their eBay stores and wares across the site to buyers.

Under the agreement, San Jose, Calif.-based eBay will implement Amazing Media’s ASP-based AdVariant tool, which walks marketers through a “do-it-yourself” process to create, target, deploy and track an ad. The buys can be run-of-network, or within a specific vertical category (such as Clothing & Accessories). All an eBay seller needs is a credit card.

“We believe that advertising on eBay will be an effective way for PowerSellers to build awareness of their eBay business,” said eBay’s Brian Cowley, who is vice president and general manager of sponsorship and services for the site. “AdVariant offers an easy-to-use automated advertising tool that can help our PowerSellers attract more interest and bids in their merchandise and to promote traffic to their eBay stores.”

To promote the new product, eBay will offer a 25 percent discount and a free $100 campaign to the first 1,000 PowerSellers to use the system.

The deal is the latest big win for two-year old Amazing Media, which last month rolled out the system for weather.com. The company said its systems are designed to help Web publishers automatically service small business clients, who typically aren’t worth the attention of a full-time national sales staff. In aggregate, however, Amazing Media says small business customers can pay off.

“The fact that eBay, one of the world’s leading sites, has chosen to make our solution available to its PowerSellers is testament to the power, flexibility and effectiveness of our technology,” said Amazing Media president and chief executive Todd Schmidt. “AdVariant will generate greater awareness and exposure to PowerSellers’ products, services, and homepages, ultimately resulting in increased sales for them.”

At the same time, several other high-profile Web publishers have also followed suit in a similar vein, seeking to automate small-business sales using a do-it-yourself tool. Yahoo!, for instance, recently unveiled a self-service e-mail marketing tool in its small business area.

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