by Mike Masnick

eBay Frees API; What Took So Long?

from the big-deal dept

eBay is getting a bit of coverage this morning for the news that they're freeing up their API in an effort to encourage developers. They're also offering a reward for the most innovative application that people come up with. While they're trying to pitch this as a big move, all it seems like is a really, really late move by eBay. Any software or online business these days has to realize that the really big wins are in being the platform that everyone's hooked into. Putting up a huge hurdle and making it expensive for developers to make your platform more valuable to end-users seems like a really short-sighted grab for a little extra money upfront in exchange for long term value. eBay got away with this by being the only really large scale auction platform that many people used, but it left them vulnerable. With new efforts under way like Google Base, it's no wonder they're finally recognizing the need to change. So, it's good that they're opening up the APIs and encouraging development, but it's a bit surprising it took them this long.

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  • identicon
    Oliver Wendell Jones, 14 Nov 2005 @ 10:23am


    Hopefully this means that someone will make a decent ebay app for Palm-based smart phones. The current selection is slim, and the one "professional" package out there (Abidia Wireless) is clunky and slow.

    I can't remember who made it, but I had a great ebay app on my Samsung phone that I paid a $5 monthly fee for (actually, Sprint gave me $5 credit each month towards apps, so I really got it for free) and I would love to have something similar on my Treo phone.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Nov 2005 @ 9:59pm

      Re: Woohoo!

      I used that app too, it didn't work half the time, and didn't have all of the features, it's obvious they copied the app from Abidia. When I switched phones it wouldn't work at all. Abidia supports all phones and I find their latest version to be quite elegant on BlackBerry. I've been using them for over a year for free.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Steve Morriss, 14 Nov 2005 @ 11:54am

    Ebay APIs

    There is a very good reason for it taking so long...they (Ebay) have been growing their business like a madman on fire in a high wind. Just trying to stay on top of such a massively succesful IT infrastructure is an act equal to building the pyramids. The fact that they have the forethought to bring the APIs forward is just damn good business.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Chris Law, 14 Nov 2005 @ 2:05pm

    A conversation with eBay

    I actually talked to the director of development at eBay and did an interview with him last week if anyone is interested: http://1000flowersbloom.typepad.com

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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