Donnerstag, September 07, 2006

We have seen nothing yet! mash-up developers out there: time for rock 'n' roll!

Today I held a speach at the Media in Transition conference in Munich ( and discussed new Web 2.0 ideas in an interesting panel discussion with Simon Willison from Yahoo!, Ibrahim Evasan from Sevenload and Tom Dyson from Torchbox. In order to also open up the discussion here on my blog, let me share some of the points I tried to make during my 25-minute presentation...

Hopefully some food for thought and also new mashup ideas:

2. eBay´s developers program as a motor for Web 2.0 innovations:
  • eBay has billions of product data available, even including some demographic data, shipping data, product features, pictures and of courses prices.
  • data and eBay functionality are available via free webservices APIs and the market data program (
  • The eBay webservices platform makes integration for 3rd-parties easy by leveraging technology standards (XML, SOAP, REST, https...) plus numerous SDKs
  • Numerous companies already use the eBay APIs to mash the data into their applications, e.g. ERP companies, logistic companies, tool developers, hotel chains...
  • eBay functionality is migrating into more and more portals such as freemail sites, price comparison sites, wireless apps, IPTV tools and much more

2. eBay´s affiliate programs are a motor for web 2.0 innovations

  • Especially new web 2.0 start-ups in the socializing, community, content or networking can make extra money off these programs by integrating relevant eBay items as advertisements into their sites and possibly even targeting these precisely based on their user profiles
  • eBay pays you money not only for clicks and bids, but also for new user registrations and even pays you a rev share in the US
  • Learn more at or
  • tools like the editor kit or the eBay relevance ad let you target the ads in an optimized way

3. Examples and ideas for Web 2.0 mashups around eBay:

  • Google Maps or planet browser are currently the dominating mashup trend around local eBay searches and data. Examples include,, and some more
  • Another hot topic are plug-ins such as the eBay watcher as part of the google desktop 2.0. I expect many more AJAX dashboards with eBay functionality in the near future
  • Mashup idea: (facebook) to be mashed as a long-term financing option for students. Imagine your uncle borrowed you 300 bucks to buy a flat screen and you pay him back after a couple of years and remind him: Look this was the eBay item I bought - remember?
  • Mashup idea: in order to organize your eBay sales as a professional seller and give access to some suppliers e.g. in order to view relevant statistics or spread-sheets... many more stuff can be done with this cool database / app
  • Mashup idea: or to be mashed with the gold that is being sold on eBay directly within the game or any other stuff that fits into the story. Or you could even mash it up with google maps and in order to find out who and where the people sit in the real world that you are dealing with.
  • Mashup idea: Now this mashup is really cool. You gotta try it out: Enter your favorite seller and it will give you a cool slide show about the item this seller is selling. Nothing more needs to be - in my opinion...
  • Mashup idea: Mash product prices from various platforms into a cool price comparison or analysis site - is really worth trying out. Checkout the mashing around or the post it to Web - option for items. Mashup at its best. is also an interesting option, still waiting for an eBay API connection
  • Mashup idea: collectors corners like - great to be mashed with the matching eBay items
  • Mashup idea: Paypal - Skype - eBay :-) who would have guessed it? But seriously communication (voip, IM, peer to peer, WLAN) and payment offer great opportunities to be mashed...

4. Summary of the panel discussion after my speach:

  • Will we have a bandwidth problem with video taking over? Some believe so, but new technologies and ever increasing computing power and bandwidth will overcome the bottlenecks in my opinion.
  • What will dominate broadcasting, streaming, ownership, downloads? It all will happen. A daily television programm will be something of the past in 5 years - that`s all I had to say
  • Security: A big risk for Web 2.0, since users might get too transparent and not all developer are good you know. It really depends who wins the race. Today the young myspace kids do not worry about all the data they create about themselves, but they will grow older and you watch... I can already hear the human rights activists screaming... and read below in some of my other posts: I am scared already, thinking about all the data I left registering on so many websites out there...
  • I also made a comment about the internet and a question from the audience, whether this is a new bubble or not: First of all YES, the word Web 2.0 is too hyped up, but the magic word really is: APIs!!! These create tons of new business opportunities. But in the end... hey, the internet is only 11 years old and WE HAVE SEEN NOTHING YET!

5. Closing comment:

I read in an IT newspaper the other day that a professor predicted that ERP software companies are going to have a hard time competing against Web 2.0 business apps in 10 years from now... hmm - something to think about.


kristy hat gesagt…

a quick correction: it's not

Bjoern hat gesagt…

Thanks - it is corrected

onlyebay hat gesagt…

Bjoern, thanks for the very interesting post. I think you are right that eBay has all the ingredients necessary to drive web 2.0 innovations. It has the content and it has the APIs. The one problem I find with so many of these API integrations is that you end up being dumped back into the EBAY interface when you click on an item anyway. I'm not sure how it could work but it would be great to allow third-parties to conclude the sale seamlessly on their site and not lose control of the customer. Then you really would see an explosion of sites offering content for sale on a 'commission basis' rather than a referral basis. I repeat I am not sure how this could be accomplished and maintain the level of security that eBay has.

Bjoern hat gesagt…

Hi onlyebay, thank you for your comment. You are right, that keeping the customer on a portal would be a great lever. We already had quiet a few tools that asked us whether they could fully keep the customer within their tool/portal. There is also the appropriate non-public calls in the API to do that, however we only grant access to the PlaceOffer-Call e.g. for applications that do not have direct access to the internet, such as wireless apps or apps for settop boxes (IPTV) and developers have to sign strict contracts to get access to them. This is, as you already guessed, a matter of security and we really want to keep the bidding on the site in order to keep the high level of trust and safety that we have today.