Exploring ‘eBay Connect’ – What If?

After posting the original idea ‘Sign-In With eBay Connect, A Rival for Facebook Connect?‘ last Friday, I spent most of the weekend thinking on how this could be put into practice and what the implications could be.


Graphical Representations of what eBay Connect buttons could look like

If you’ve not read the article yet, take a quick read here and get yourself up to speed, the basic idea is to leverage your eBay account to interact with other websites, I really do not want any more website accounts and in this article I will be exploring how far this could go and spin offs that could happen.

I feel obliged to make it completely clear, this article is purely hypothetical, there is no real service called ‘eBay Connect’, however if you are reading this and there is such a service, this idea obviously rocked.

So what could eBay connect do that other connection services cannot do?

That was a question spinning around my head for the weekend, how could this be different to the other connection services out there. I came up with the following feature set, although I’d welcome more suggestions from you, the comments box is at the bottom, ironically now with a Facebook Connect button on it :X

The eBay Connect feature list:

  1. Sign into any website with your eBay account
  2. Populate shipping forms with pre-saved data from eBay
  3. Use PayPal to pay for an order
  4. Use a Credit Card (ironically, also through PayPal) to pay for an order
  5. Receive order status updates in your MyeBay
  6. Ask & Receive questions in MyeBay (MyMessages now becomes a CRM system)
  7. Leave feedback for the transaction for the external website on eBay

Now I really cannot wait and I am going to jump straight to item #8. This one truly breaks the boundaries as I am suggesting taking the eBay feedback system and making it available for outside parties.

We’ve seen numerous rating systems appear over the past few years, some a better than others, but they basically offer the same service.  Such examples are:

  • Ekomi
  • Bizrate
  • Epinions
  • PriceGrabber
  • ResellerRatings
  • Shopzilla
  • Yahoo
  • Shopsafe
  • Ciao
  • Dooyoo
  • Kelkoo
  • ReviewCentre
  • Shopsafe

However this time, we’re joining the original feedback system, eBay feedback with the rest of the Internet via ‘eBay Connect’.

First Connecting Businesses to eBay

I came to the conclusion that there was is only two scenarios that need to be dealt with when it came to actually setting up such a services for a business, these were:

  1. A business that currently sells on eBay
  2. A business that does not currently sell on eBay

A business that currently sells on eBay

For such a business, then we would need the business to join their website(s) to their eBay account, thus their feedback will be directly linked to the website and eBay. Purchases made on either platform can be rated and other features enabled.

A business that does not currently sell on eBay

Then simply register and verify a new eBay account and link them up to gain access to the features and functions that are indicated in this article.

Once Connected

Then feedback can be left for transactions that are processed through both eBay and the external sites. Obviously eBay would be mad to just join the feedback system, if they nailed down payment methods, processes (orders, returns, disputes etc) and messages, then this could easily be evolved into a paid for service with some quality service offerings.

Exploring the options

The number of eBay accounts are in the realms of millions, may be more worldwide, I think that you may have just grasped the sheer scale of the potential for this idea, not only am I suggesting with pimp the eBay feedback system allowing for businesses to be rated on external transactions, but for additional value add services to be added to the mix to make such a ‘eBay Connect’ service very attractive.

I’m going to quickly explore the numbered options we started with in the next few sections, these are:

Sign into any website with your eBay account

Fundamental to this entire offering, the promise that by using your eBay account to connect with a 3rd party website will make your transaction, trouble free and as simple as it should be, with no more forms to complete and a payment method you trust.

Populate shipping forms with pre-saved data from eBay

This personally annoys me, even when dealing with an order of an item I really want from a new website, it tarnishes the deal and has been an evil of necessity. Its why I love Amazon so much, two clicks (not one, it takes TWO clicks!), done. eBay connect removes this.

Use PayPal to pay for an order

What a no-brainer, I don’t know the figures, but I bet its extremely high the number of eBay accounts that have PayPal, paying using PayPal is obvious and gives the eBay Connect service a bonus revenue source.

Use a Credit Card (ironically, also through PayPal) to pay for an order

Even in the bullet point for this, I added ‘ironically’ to it, yep, by not restricting payments to just PayPal, an extra scoop of revenue could be taken from the order. I have not even contemplated the full revenue model for such a concept as I am describing here for ‘eBay Connect’, but as you are starting to realise, like I have, this baby has more cash pots that a bent cashier at Fort Knocks.

Receive order status updates in your MyeBay

Emulating what Amazon did to marketplace sellers, take control of notifications in a single place. But why stop there? Create the order as a real order in MyeBay and let it follow the same order track as other eBay orders?

Ask & Receive questions in MyeBay (MyMessages now becomes a CRM system)

Now here is another superb idea, link the communications up beyond standard notifications to the MyMessages section on eBay and take control of the entire process in a fully integrated Customer Relationship Management system.

Make it an API Sir!

eBay’s API (Application Programming Interface) is possibly the worlds most documented and complete API there is, making the ‘eBay Connect’ system accessible via an comprehensive API is a natural step and would accelerate the adoption of such a service.

In Conclusion

The epic scale of such a service called ‘eBay Connect’ is far reaching and breaks the boundaries that are set by limiting eBay to just eBay. By unleashing such a beast to the entire eCommerce world would be shattering and maybe for Web 3.0 (to me anyway) ‘eBay Connect’ means the simplification of all the junk we made in Web 2.0.

What do you think?

Would you use eBay connect if it meant one login and one system to track your orders from multiple websites?

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