eBay is set to get a fresh new change as both the sites are now open to third party applications and developers. The new initiative was announced at the eBay Developers Conference in Chicago on June 16.
The development is titled Project Echo. Project Echo will see third-party developers integrating applications to redesign eBay’s tools – Selling Manager and Selling Manager Pro that manage sales on My eBay.
“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.”
“Third-party developers want our help with marketing and distribution, and sellers consistently seek better tools to help them scale,” eWeek.com quoted Max Mancini, senior director of platform and disruptive innovation at eBay, as saying. “Opening eBay.com directly to third-party applications through the Selling Manager gives developers an immediate channel to growth-minded eBay sellers.”
“Our approach is to say we have this great ecosystem of developers, so why not let them integrate their stuff into eBay through Selling Manager,” he said.
eBay claims to have 70,000 members and 12,000 tools/applications that help these sellers to expand their businesses. According to Mancini, “It’s a pretty significant impact on the business and we at eBay take our platform seriously” which explains there move to advance the tools used in the site and hence the open approach to developers.
Additionally, eBay will also offer public API for inventory data as “eBay selling manager application has inventory capability but it’s not a public API” according to Kandaswamy. “The theme of all the APIs is to make easier is easier for developers to meet the need of sellers,” he said.
Apart from all the technical changes that developers can take advantage of, there are a few changes that users can make use of. Certain APIs will be developed for users one of which is 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.
While the Merchandising API is ready for members to use, there is one eBay Client Alert API that lets “lightweight near real time alerts about activities on eBay platform”; which eBay is making public soon.
All in all, Project Echo is aimed at finding solutions for users by joining hands with developers and advances the site’s capabilities as it is a platform for a whopping 1.3 million people where they earn part or all of their income by selling on eBay, estimates ACNielsen.
Project Echo will be made public for testing in the fourth quarter of 2008 followed by the more advanced public beta test in first quarter of 2009 and will be finally made official in mid-2009.