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Old 06-22-2009
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Default News and Road Map from eBay Developer's Conference

eBay held its annual Developer's Conference last week, giving third-party developers a sneak peek at its product road map and using the opportunity to promote its new "open platform" approach. Usually held in conjunction with the eBay Live community conference, this year's DevCon was held on its own at the company's San Jose headquarters because eBay Live was canceled in what would have been its eight year.

This year's DevCon keynote address was delivered by eBay CEO John Donahoe, CTO Mark Carges, Senior Director of Platform and Mobile Max Mancini, and author and co-chairman at Deloitte LLP Center for the Edge, John Hagel.

John Donahoe told developers that eBay is prepared to invest whatever it takes to enable the eBay platform to accelerate and adapt to market and industry changes. Mark Carges said eBay's top technology priorities were search, catalog, user experience and platform. And Max Mancini encouraged attendees to develop on eBay Selling Manager Applications (formerly known as Project Echo) by adapting existing applications or creating new ones and getting their applications listed in the App Catalog.

eBay is focused on catalog - bringing structure to unstructured data. "Catalogs a big investment and a huge priority," according to Carges. He also said the priority on search referred to improved relevance, search as platform (support for custom shopping experiences), better sorting (more and better predictive models), and more data to help sellers optimize tools and listings.

New Finding API
eBay is releasing a new Finding API for third-party developers on Friday that will give them access to eBay's new search functionality. The Finding API provides more relevant search results compared to existing search APIs and has powerful search refinement capabilities, according to the company. The search calls in the Shopping API will be deprecated after 12 months after the launch of the Finding API.

Preview of Fall 2009 Release
Next month, eBay will be announcing more information about changes coming in September (it is limiting major changes to two releases per year). eBay's Platform Product Manager Anand Gangadharan gave developers a preview of the fall release.

One change is the ability for sellers to exclude countries they don't ship to and to block buyers whose primary shipping or registered location is excluded. eBay is also going to have "all pre-sale member messages intermediated through eBay for safety." Other changes include:

  • Merchant credit card in eBay Checkout;
  • Revise more data in multi-quantity fixed-price listings even after they have sales;
  • More support for shipment tracking information and specifying shipping carriers;
In another session, eBay revealed what is forthcoming for its Large Merchant Services API (LMS):

  • Auction format support - currently, LMS supports fixed price listings only;
  • Best Match transparency - download information about factors (e.g., price, shipping cost, DSRs, recent sales) sellers can control to improve search ranking of their listings;
  • Bulk picture upload;
  • Enhancements to reporting, such as PayPal fees, so sellers can calculate ROI at item or order level.
eBay Developers Program by the Numbers
Gangadharan said there were 92,000 members of the eBay Developer's program, a 32 percent year-over-year growth rate. There are 13,000 live applications with 8 billion API calls per month. eBay also released statistics that showed there are 25 million sellers on eBay and that 400,000 sellers use third-party tools to list items and manage their business on eBay.

Full coverage of this year's DevCon is found on the eBay Developers Program blog.

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