Kumar Kandaswamy, the Senior Director of the Developer Program and Innovation at eBay, gave TameBay the inside track on Project Echo, the new API tools available to allow developers to integrate their applications with Selling Manager Pro (SMP).
He told how back in 2000 his team opened up the eBay platform using the Application Programing Interface (API) to allow third parties to develop eBay tools. With millions of users although eBay provide some great tools, they’re not enough to meet the needs of all users world wide. Over the course of the last seven years over 70,000 developers have used the interface with some 12,000 live applications using the API today.
Over 28% of listings come through 3rd party applications or 1/2 billion listings. If you include TurboLister and SMP the figure rises to over 60% of listings launched by tools using the API.
Kumar explained how Project Echo will enable the 3rd parties to bring their expertise and bolt their applications directly onto the eBay platform. Instead of having to visit a third party site or use a desktop application the tools will be accessible directly through SMP on eBay.
We can expect to see the first five applications available in SMP on eBay.com in Q4 this year, with public Beta starting in Q1 2009. Full product release is scheduled for the middle of 2009, with worldwide rollout to follow.
The first five applications built into eBay will be Terapeak (eBay research) and Hosted Support (customer support automation), who have already built their applications with Sagefire, MyStoreCredit and ShipRush to follow.
On the left of SMP there are already links to eBay features, so applications such as Terapeak will be added into the menu as a consistant seamless user experience.
Kumar explained that eBay will not compromise on security, scaleability and seamless useability. They will ensure applications offer the same security as eBay itself and that the providers are able to scale up for the thousands of users Project Echo opens their application up to. Once implemented users will be able to seamlessly click from SMP into the application without leaving the eBay site.
3rd party providers will also make subscription costs clear and Kumar is insisting that they offer a 30 day free trial so that users are able to try before they buy.
This is a golden opportunity of developers to put their applications in front of thousands of new buyers and sellers. For eBay users in the future your favourite application will be available seamlessly on eBay without the need to visit the developers sites or download applications.
Kumar is very excited at the API applications being given access to the eBay core platform, and rightly so. I can’t wait until every third party tool I use is available through the one website interface and is available from any and every PC that I log into.
What’s your favourite application and what features would you like to see developers build into eBay?