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September 19, 2011

Ebay's New Division Targets Developers, Merchants

By Ashok Bindra, TMCnet Contributor

Attempting to emulate the success of Apple’s iOS platform in the e-commerce world, online auction and trading site eBay (News - Alert) Inc. is building a new division to woo developers and attract more merchants, reports International multimedia news agency Reuters (News - Alert). According to Reuters, eBay's main business is still its giant online marketplaces, which bring shoppers and sellers together. PayPal is the company's other big payment business. Plus, it acquired GSI Commerce (News - Alert) earlier this year to add a third division, wrote Reuters.

As per Reuters report, a fourth business has emerged in recent months called X.commerce. The website for the division,, revives a name from the early days of PayPal (News - Alert), when it merged a competing online payments business called started by Elon Musk, wrote Reuters’ reporter Alistair Barr.

According to Barr, X.commerce is trying to persuade outside developers to create applications, or apps, for merchants looking to sell more online. “The apps can be designed to work on eBay's marketplaces. They may also include payment capabilities from PayPal and work with websites built on Magento, an open-source e-commerce company that eBay bought in June,” wrote Barr.

Matthew Mengerink, the eBay veteran who runs the new division, told Reuters,  “The idea is to indirectly monetize eBay's main assets PayPal, GSI and Marketplaces.”

“X.commerce is in a unique position. I don't have to drive revenue, I have to drive traffic,” added Mengerink.

According to Mengerink, as reported by Reuters, eBbay has about 725,000 developers registered with its various developer programs and there are roughly 4,600 Magento apps active on, up from 3,800 at the start of the year.

Also, the report indicates that among companies who have signed up to develop apps on include Omniture, a unit of Adobe (News - Alert) Systems, Kenshoo, an online marketing software company, and Outright, which makes a financial-management product for small businesses.

Mengerink thinks X.commerce can be more attractive for developers than iOS because merchants are willing to spend more money on useful e-commerce apps. Mengerink said he will measure X.commerce's success partly on how much money developers make selling apps, wrote Barr.

Ashok Bindra is a veteran writer and editor with more than 25 years of editorial experience covering RF/wireless technologies, semiconductors and power electronics. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell
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