Software News tagged "eBay News"

eBay are to replace their market analysis tool eBay Marketplace Research with Terapeak, a well-regarded eBay research tool and licensee of eBay market data.

The new service will be called Marketplace Research by Terapeak and will be accessible from within the eBay website.

"We are pleased to join with Terapeak to offer our customers an alternative service for eBay Marketplace Research," said Laura Della Torre, Senior Manager, Seller Platform at eBay. "We have been working with Terapeak as a Certified Provider for several years and believe they are well suited to provide a research product that meets the needs of our customers."

Terapeak are currently offering year-long subscriptions at a discount rate of 60% off.

eBay announced today that Interapptive, provider of shipping solution ShipWorks, has become the newest member of the eBay Certified Provider Program.

ShipWorks is a desktop application that bridges the gap between receiving an order and getting it out the door. The product is integrated with all major carriers to provide bulk and automated shipping labels, invoice printing and email notifications.

The Certified Provider Program is an eBay scheme that approves companies providing software and services to eBay sellers. There are two types of Certified Providers: Certified Solution Providers, who offer software that connects directly with eBay; and Certified Service Providers, who provide services for eBay sellers.

To become certified, businesses must enter employees for eBay exams, provide customer references, and provide company information to prove their track record.

eBay.co.uk's Tool Development Radar has failed to get any ideas off the starting blocks, despite receiving ten "demands" in the past ten months.

The Radar's blurb reads "If you have a great idea for a new tool but aren't a developer yourself, or just don't have the time, then create some demand for it. If enough demand is generated then someone might just develop it." Or not, because the "Level of completion" scale shows that every idea is zero percent complete.

Ideas on the Radar include a Feedback Sorter, Wordpress Widget, Keyword Selector, and — bizarrely — an "Allegro" watcher for eBay Poland competitor Allegro.pl.

eBay has acquired a media (video, audio, photo) sharing site called VUVOX.

Little information about eBay's plans for VUVOX has been forthcoming, but their official blog said "eBay has acquired VUVOX to help further develop rich media capabilities in the eBay marketplace. At first glance, the integration of VUVOX into eBay is aimed at creating an enhanced customer experience using the personal media tools and applying them to listings and pages on ebay.com."

It is not known what the impact of the acquisition will be on certified video providers, together with the proposed Active Content Policy.

eBay are to change the way auction descriptions are served to browsers — by segregating them from the rest of the site — in a new Active Content Policy.

The change, currently being testing on eBay Motors, seeks to protect users from malicious Flash and JavaScript content that could be embedded in eBay listing descriptions. An early sufferer from the change is Sellathon ViewTracker, which is incompatible with the change.

The proposed Active Content Policy goes further, prohibiting all listing code that is not pre-approved and loaded onto the page using custom tags. Such a policy would require all developers of in-listing enhancements to gain approval and make adjustments to their products. Listing enhancements include video, listing galleries, and zoomable images.

eBay are requesting feedback from developers on these plans.

An initiative to open up eBay to applications created by outside developers, called Project Echo, was announced at the eBay Developer's Conference.

The first area of the eBay site to support embedded applications will be Selling Manager, the auction management tool within My eBay used by 700,000 eBay sellers.

Opening up Selling Manager to third-party applications offers developers much tighter integration with eBay than is currently possible: although eBay has a mature developers' program they are currently restricted to creating solutions that run on their own web sites or as desktop software.

eBay also hopes to help developers promote their Project Echo applications with a built-in applications directory and personalized advertisements for relevant tools.

Project Echo will launch in limited beta form by the end of the year.

eBay announced today that their eBay Desktop software stopped working due to an incompatibility following changes to their own API.

The problem caused all searches run using eBay Desktop to return no results. The solution was to rollback the change to the eBay API, which is used by thousands of developers to access the eBay platform.

eBay are to terminate their seven-year relationship with Commission Junction, and run their affiliate program in-house.

The new global program will be called the eBay Partner Network, and will launch on April 1st with registration available from that day. Commission Junction links will cease to work on 1 May.

eBay are making sweeping changes to Item Specifics - the product attributes system launched in March 2004 to make finding items easier.

As of 16 October, all categories that did not previously have any kind of Item Specifics now support Custom Item Specifics. Custom Item Specifics allow sellers to add custom "tags" to their listing that describe their item, such as Gender=Women's or Metal=14k Gold. These tags make it easier for buyers to find those items in search.

In 2008, eBay plan to add Custom Item Specifics support to all categories, and in 2009 the original Item Specifics will be phased out completely.

eBay has acquired ViA-Online GmbH, a leading auction management software company in Germany that operates Afterbuy.com.

The acquisition enables eBay to expand service and support for its German sellers, while allowing Afterbuy to grow its business with the e-commerce expertise and resources of eBay. Afterbuy will continue to operate under its current brand name and will remain in Krefeld, Germany.

eBay does not have a recent history of acquiring auction management software companies, instead it has focused on its third-party developer program and in-house tools. Acquisitions have been in peripheral software companies such as Skype and ProStores.

One blogger has speculated that the Afterbuy.com acquisition signals a new eBay strategy to earn more revenue per transaction by owning the listing and auction management process.

eBay have changed their mind yet again on their embedded video policy.

  • First, eBay announced that you could link to videos but not embed them (although sellers had been embedding video for years).
  • Second, they changed their mind and said you could embed video but only if the video is hosted on YouTube, Google, MySpace, Microsoft, or AOL. This effectively banned a number of eBay-certified services that had been providing video for eBay auctions.
  • Third, eBay realised the absurdity of their behaviour and added the certified video providers to the approved list.

eBay have now come full-circle, and declared that video can only be embedded and must not be linked to.

Confused? You should be.

Hopefully a lesson has been learnt: spend time figuring out a sensible policy before announcing it to the world.

eBay have added a number of benefits for Premium and Anchor eBay Store holders. There are no new benefits for Basic Store holders

Premium and Anchor Store subscribers will now receive:

  • Free eBay Marketplace Research.
  • A larger Email Marketing allotment of 7,500 emails per month for Premium subscribers, and 10,000 emails per month for Anchor subscribers.
  • Dedicated 24/7 phone customer support.
  • 40% off the Anchor Store price - down from $499.95 to $299.95 a month

Premium is the new name for Featured eBay Stores.

eBay have released a new beta version of their desktop buying tool Project San Dimas.

Improvements include improved speed, revamped My eBay information, new alerts and notes sections, and a My Messages prototype.

Following the launch of Terapeak's eBay/Facebook tool in June, eBay has launched an official Facebook application.

eBay Marketplace (requires Facebook login) lets you share eBay items within your Facebook profile. The widget also shows your eBay watchlist and allows you to view your friends' watchlists and add recommendations (depending on their security settings).

eBay has been improving the way it communicates changes to the site and new tools.

The eBay playground is a separate eBay site that lets you experiment with new features before eBay introduces them on the regular site.

eBay Innovation showcases new tools and projects that eBay is working on such as Project San Dimas and eBay To Go.

Interestingly (and confusingly) eBay.co.uk has a sub-site called eBay Innovate which is a showcase of third-party "gadgets" that have been developed for eBay users. A "Tool Development Radar" shows tools that have been requested by users. Current ideas on the Radar are eBay Translation, a Book Price Upate Tool, and an Event Ticket Price Optimiser.

A new version of the eBay Toolbar (most notable for its Account Guard phishing detector) includes a number of Yahoo! features, including web search, Yahoo! Answers search, and links to Yahoo! Mail. It is difficult to see how these additions benefit users, many of whom will not be Yahoo! users.

eBay is also working on a version of the Toolbar that will work with Firefox.

Following the ban of Auction Extenders eBay has announced that it will no longer be possible to revise a listing's duration, except within a 2 hour window after an auction is listed. eBay justification for the change is that "auction extensions disrupt normal bidding patterns, creating a poor buyer experience. Some sellers were also using this ability to gain an advantage for their listings in terms of exposure on the site."

eBay announced a number of changes for eBay Stores customers at eBay Live!

Highlights include adding eBay Stores to the site header (the links at the top of eBay pages), more tools and resources for Featured and Anchor subscribers, a new eBay Stores To Go tool, a new eBay Stores Design Center, and new educational resources. The Featured level is to be renamed Premium and the Anchor Store subscription fee will be cut by 40% to $299.95 a month.

eBay generated controversy recently by leaving their own certified developers out of their new list of approved video services.

eBay has now updated their policy to include AOL, AuctionMercial, AuctionPlayer.com, Auction VIDEO, CarAuctionPro, CreativeVideosOnline, Google, i2iAuction, Microsoft, MySpace, and YouTube.

AuctionBytes has discovered a new eBay tool called Bid Assistant that will offer Bid Groups - a feature common in sniping programs. Bid Assistant will not offer scheduled or last-minute bidding, according to its eBay help page.

Bid Groups allow a buyer to set bids on several items, but with the intention of winning only one. Bid Assistant creates bid groups from the "Items I'm Watching" list in My eBay, and allows the buyer to set the same maximum bid for all items in the group, or different maximum bids for each item. Once bids have been set, Bid Assistant moves through the group (starting with the item that ends first), and places bids until one item has been won, or it reaches the end of the group.

eBay have not made a formal announcement about Bid Assistant but it is mentioned in eBay Help and is buried within an eBay Developer's program Release Note. View sniping tools with the Bid Groups feature.

eBay have launched a new Flash-based widget which shows a single eBay item, multiple items, or results of a favorite search on your own website or blog: eBay To Go. eBay To Go is primarily aimed at Bloggers and social networking site users, with step-by-step instructions for MySpace, Blogger, Typepad and more.

eBay already has a similar, but more complex and powerful, tool called Editor Kit. The Editor Kit has a big advantage over eBay To Go of using affiliate links - so users can earn commissions from clicks.

eBay made a shocking announcement two weeks ago that embedding video in auctions was not allowed, despite there being nothing in their Listing Policies to back that up. Only text links to videos would be allowed, and only to five sites: YouTube, Google, MySpace, Microsoft, and AOL.

They have now realised their mistake, and now will allow embedded video - as long as it is hosted on one of those five sites. It is interesting to see that eBay are allowing the use of Google Video and YouTube (also owned by Google). eBay's ban of Google Checkout was a big story last year, but Google's dominance in online video can't be ignored, even by eBay.

There are several unapproved providers who specialise in video for eBay sellers — many of them certified by eBay — who are now left out in the cold. eBay have said that "We'll be evaluating other video hosting sites as time goes on" so hope for their survival remains. This is not the first time eBay has cut off previously approved third-party products: Auction Extenders were banned by a "Policy Clarification" back in January.

eBay have stated, in a veiled announcement, that sellers may no longer embed video clips in their auction listings.

Video services for eBay sellers have been around for years, but the eBay announcement heralds that "the time is right to bring the video experience to eBay" by allowing links to five approved video services: YouTube, Google, MySpace, Microsoft, and AOL.

The announcement specifically states that "videos cannot be embedded within listings" but no reference could by found to back this up in eBay's byzantine Listing Policies. Indeed the HTML and JavaScript policy makes a specific exception for Flash content - the usual way of embedding video.

eBay listing policies have come under fire many times for their complexity, contradictions, and lack of enforcement. Issues which significantly affect the eBay buying experience such as lying about the item's location and adding unrelated keywords to the listing title are still common, despite policies specifically banning them.

eBay announced in late January that it would be banning tools that automatically extend an auction's duration. Although Sage Dynamic Duration Tool is no longer offered to new users, it will continue to function until eBay takes further action to prevent auction duration being extended. Vendio Reviser is still being actively marketed on Vendio's site, and the developers have spoken out against the ban.

Although eBay's desktop auction management tool Blackthorne has been around since October 2005, the old equivalent Seller's Assistant (SA) has been supported alongside it. That is due to change on April 4 — the official date for SA's "retirement". eBay is urging SA users who previously rejected Blackthorne to try it again, now that a number of performance issues have been fixed.

eBay has issued a "Policy Clarification" that bans manual or automated increases in auction duration. Third-party Auction Extenders work by automatically revising auctions to increase the duration, pushing auctions higher up search results as they will be more frequently "ending soon". The Clarification classes the practice as a form of Fee Circumvention contrary to eBay's policy.

Auction Extenders include Vendio Reviser and Sage Dynamic Duration Tool, following the innovative Sell Through Tool from now-defunct Ethical Tecnhologies.

eBay Stores listing and final value fees are to increase from 22 August 2006. Full details are here.

eBay CEO Meg Whitman stated that the increase in volume of Store Inventory format listings has degraded the eBay buyer experience, and that the fee increase as well as lower visibility of Store listings would improve the balance of the marketplace.

AuctionBytes reports that Andale has decided not to renew its contract with eBay to provide free integrated auction counters. eBay Australia and UK have already replaced Andale's counters with their own.

eBay.com.au is offering sellers a new free auction counter in place of the ubiquitous Andale counters. Andale's contract to provide free counters to eBay sellers expires in June, and the Australia move could signal that eBay will not be renewing the agreement.

eBay is adding RSS to search pages, enabling buyers to subscribe to an automatically updated list of auctions matching advanced search criteria. RSS feeds of eBay category and search results are currently available using third party products such as MarketGizmos and Pluck.

As of Friday, May 12, 2006, eBay will no longer support Seller's Assistant products. The replacement Windows-based management tool is eBay Blackthorne. On May 12, sellers subscribed to Seller's Assistant will automatically change over to the equivalent Blackthorne subscription. eBay has made a number of guides and workshops available to help users change to Blackthorne.

AuctionBytes reports that developer Ethical Technologies is facing a financial crisis, and eBay has threatened to pull their access to the API for failure to pay its bills. Ethical has a number of marketing and listing tools for eBay sellers, such as jayandmarie's Relister and the Thank You Tool.

eBay has reduced the prices and increased the storage quotas for its Picture Manager image hosting service. The 50MB plan is unchanged at $9.99 per month, the middle tier is up to 250MB from 125MB and reduced by $5.00 to $14.99 per month, and the top level now offers 1GB instead of 300MB at $24.99 per month - a $15.00 reduction. Featured Store holders receive a $5.00 discount and Anchor Store holders receive the top level for free.

eBay has announced that Sales Reports Plus will be made free for all sellers. The timing has not been communicated, and the Sales Reports Plus page on eBay still states a $4.99 monthly fee. The standard version of Sales Reports is currently free.

Following Andale's week-long outage at the start of November, eBay has withdrawn the company's access to the Checkout Redirect feature, which allows Andale sellers to use their own checkout system instead of eBay's own. eBay said that Andale had failed to meet the requirements of their Service Level Agreement (SLA) with eBay, which requires 99.9 percent uptime and notification of technical problems within 30 minutes.

eBay Blackthorne, formerly known as Seller's Assistant, is out of beta testing.

Current subscribers to Seller's Assistant Basic can download Blackthorne Basic for free, and subscribers to Seller's Assistant Pro can download Blackthorne Pro for free. Both Seller's Assistant and Blackthorne products can be used at the same time. No new features will be added to Seller's Assistant, but eBay will continue it until May 2006.

Skype, the Voice over IP (VoIP) company, will be sold to eBay for approximately $2.6 billion. Skype's software provides a telephone system over the Internet, with free calls between Skype users and low rates for calling fixed and mobile phones. eBay intends to make voice communications a part of the eBay marketplace, making transactions faster and easier and encouraging interaction between users.

eBay has launched a handy chart to compare standard eBay selling, eBay Stores, and ProStores.

eBay has decided to discontinue the eBay Anything Points program on the U.S. eBay site. The program will officiallly end on February 28, 2006 but existing points will be valid until August 31, 2006. eBay sellers can continue to offer Anything Points as a buying incentive in their auctions until August 15th.

eBay stated that the program has been discontinued after "receiving input from U.S. members and assessing the benefit to the U.S. Community." The program will continue to run in Canada. Similar incentive services are available from third-party providers such as MyStoreCredit, Aucser, and PayCodes.

Look out for a new "eBay Compatible Application" logo which replaces the old "eBay Certified Developer" logo. The new logo means that an application has been tested by eBay and is deemed compatible for use with the eBay Platform.

eBay is to introduce Best Offer, a new option for sellers with Fixed Price listings. Sellers can choose to add this feature during the listing process, at no extra charge, to allow buyers to make an offer for that item. The seller can review and accept offers received in My eBay. A similar feature is currently available from third-party developer Yldfire, with their Make An Offer technology.

eBay is launching a 90-day pilot of a feature that gives members the ability to view only positive or negative feedback comments. The pilot will run on the eBay sites for China, France, Italy, Taiwan, and the UK. Depending on the results of the pilot, the feature could be released globally later in 2005.

Feedback filtering is a feature currently available only through third-party software and sites, such as Negative/Neutral Feedback.

The eBay change to secure login has been reversed following complaints from users who were unable to disable browser popup alerts. Several software packages were affected by the change but are now functioning normally again.

eBay has announced that they will be changing to a secure login process "in the next few days". The new sign in page will use SSL encryption (also known as HTTPS), commonly used for online payments and indicated by a small padlock or key icon in web browsers. The new secure login is likely to affect a number of eBay tools and services.

eBay has stated that its Links Policy does not permit Live Chat links from item pages, only from About Me pages. Live Chat applications include Boldchat, eChat Auctions, and MeetPoint.

Infopia's Configurator allows large merchants to set up auctions which can have components dynamically changed, for example PC systems can have memory added or CPU speed increased. A new Buy It Now listing is then created to match the exact configuration chosen.

Infopia prices the Configurator at $1,000 setup plus $99 per month, plus a commission of 1-2% of sales. Sellers need to use Infopia's Marketplace Manager enterprise service to list configurable items, which has its own premium pricing.

One eBay user is outraged that eBay is pushing its own software while criticizing third-party vendors who are approved to use eBay's API program, reports AuctionBytes. More.

eBay.co.uk has created a three-step tool to advise users on seller software. The tool can be found here and currently advises on eBay's own products and third-party solutions from Andale and Auctionworks.

eBay has told Auction archiver GoHook to stop storing completed auctions on its site. GoHook, which was founded in October last year, does not plan to challenge eBay's claims.

eBay has added a new feature called "eBay Calendar Reminders". The phrase "Add to Calendar" now appears in the "Time left" section of auction listings - by clicking this a reminder is added to the user's personal diary program. eBay says the feature is compatible with many calendar programs such as Microsoft Outlook, Apple iCal, and Palm Desktop.

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