Monday, 17 October 2011

Facebook And Ebay: A New Power Combination?

For the past few weeks, numerous speculations about a joint announcement from Facebook and Ebay were quite rampant – probably due to the alleged election of a Facebook executive, Katie Mitic, to Ebay’s board of directors.

However, the highly anticipated announcement was not as big as many expected.  Instead, what was announced was the integration of Facebook’s Open Graph functions with Ebay’s GSI Commerce and Magento platforms. In fact, this announcement did not really have an effect on Ebay Marketplaces.

Last month, Facebook had already announced its Open Graph functionality.  This new feature actually allows developers to create and build apps that will actually enable users to click and use buttons like they do the “like” button – but this time, using other more specific and descriptive words.

With this latest announcement, Ebay retailers that use Magento and CSI will be able to add more appropriate buttons that will improve their marketing strategy.  However, Ebay has not yet specifically mentioned as to when these buttons will be put into effect with its Marketplaces.

During 2009, Ebay already placed Facebook and Twitter share buttons for their listings, but they were still hidden in the “share” button.  Later on, however,  Ebay clearly placed Facebook “like” buttons for their viewers.

Hence, though the rumored Facebook and Ebay “Power Combination” may not be as great as many expected it to be – these new features are bound to make the Internet industry even more interesting and competitive.

Last week's announcement at eBay's Innovate conference means retailers using Magento or GSI Commerce will be able to add the buttons to their listings. But eBay didn't say if or when such buttons would be added to its Marketplace sites.

eBay first added Facebook and Twitter share buttons to Marketplace listing pages in late 2009, but they were hidden behind a pull-down menu labeled "Share" located right next to the "Print" and "Report item" links. It wasn't until April of this year that eBay placed Facebook Like buttons at the top of product listing pages directly under the listing title.

eBay is ambivalent about social networking as it demonstrated earlier this year when it caused a stir after telling sellers they would get in trouble if their social networking friends bid on their auctions (it subsequently modified the policy).

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