And finally eBay opens up, offers new APIs

8 thoughts on “And finally eBay opens up, offers new APIs”

  1. Hey Om, unless I’m reading this wrong, you’re suggesting that this is the first time that eBay, PayPal and Skype have released developer products, but in fact all three platforms have actually been available to developers for many years.

    The comparison shopping stuff is new-ish (probably a result of the Shopping.com acquisition) and a bidding API is pretty big — it’s one of the most requested features of eBay’s web service platform. Still, it has existed as a partner-only API for some time.

    Client alerts sound interesting but unless there’s some sort of reliability guarantee (which I’m not seeing) it sounds like it will be similar to something that PayPal has had for a while called instant payment notifications, which are only “instant” on a planet where an instant is defined as 15+ minutes.

  2. No Jeffrey I am not suggesting any of those things – what I am suggesting is that they are finally going whole hog on this, after mucking around for so long and are throwing a lot of resources at it. I should have made it clearer.

  3. mPire poured their heart and soul (along with time and money) into coming up with a great solution for eBay sellers. They no longer offer seller tools, but rather turned to the buyer-side with ingenuity in the face of adversity. Using them as an example of the success of the eBay Developers Program is puzzling.

    In the past, eBay has seemed oblivious to the fact that its developers need to make money to survive, and that it’s better off with successful developers who feel free to innovate.

  4. eBay’s rhetoric may be catching up to marketplace of ideas, but I’m not sure much new has happened. The reality check is in headcount and M&A devoted to these projects.

    There’s little that’s pradigmatically new or different in the eBay announcements. They are still tweaking proven services instead of pioneering new ones. Nothing announced will create new multibillion dollar markets.

    They are slowly exposing more of their systems and that’s the right platforming strategy. But they’re only going to get innovation in user experience, not in underlying business capability. More of the same, faster, cheaper, even better in some ways, but not new.

  5. Phil,

    you are right about the slowly opening their platform. I think the bidding, and alerts are new APIs, and I think given how the company thinks, the innovation on the user end of the equation is not such a bad idea.

    I continue to be mildly disappointed in what they are doing (or not doing with Skype) and similarly, quite impressed with PayPal mobile API which I admit is too late, but still a good start since their are no clear winners in the mobile space just yet.

  6. Ina,

    eBay isn’t oblivious to the fact developers need to make money. eBay has and continues to invest large amounts of resources to helping developers succeed through marketing programs and support. At the end of the day, however, the market for eBay buyer and seller applications is only so big and somewhat crowded. Therefore, not every developer will succeed.

    Greg

  7. Matt from Mpire here. I would have to echo Greg’s sentiment. We’ve had a fantastic relationship with eBay. Our consumer business is growing very nicely and eBay has been a strong supporter of us. While Mpire started out with seller tools, we went after a bigger opportunity (the $150B e-commerce market). We like to think that we know e-commerce APIs better than anyone and we’ve had nothing but strong support from eBay and shopping.com as we pivoted the business to the buyer-side.

  8. Did not mean to post-and-run, but I’ve been swamped covering the eBay Developers Conference and eBay Live in Boston. The word I’m continuing to hear from developers is that they are tired of innovating on the eBay platform because eBay takes the best ideas for themselves. eBay Marketplace Research is only one example.

    eBay is using Project San Dimas as an example of what developers can do. But why bother? eBay is already doing it and has the access to users that developers don’t have. (And they have a huge head start with San Dimas.)

    If you want access to eBay users, you better be prepared to pay for it. Ask any user if they know about the Solutions Directory, the only place eBay lists third-party services (you’ll find most people don’t know about it and don’t use it).

    This year’s devcon was a far cry from the Las Vegas spectacle of last year. eBay is clearly pinning their hopes on affiliates. But affiliates don’t care about relationships with buyers and sellers. When eBay changes the rules, as they are wont to do, affiliates will move on to the next opportunity.

    The problem is that developers won’t go on the record about the problems in working with eBay (it’s the same with sellers who rely on eBay for their income).

    Greg previously headed eBay’s Developers Program, I’m not surprised by his stated opinion.

    Matt, Mpire may have a great set of buyer tools and a great rel/ship with eBay, but something failed with the seller tools (how much money was poured into them?). That was my point.

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