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.”

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