ebay web services talk by Jeffrey McManus

A couple weeks ago I attended the Boston .NET User Group to hear Jeffrey McManus give a talk on how ebay is using web services. I took a bunch of notes during his presentation, which I’m putting up here semi-edited. The first part of the talk was mainly about ebay the company; how much business they do per quarter, how many users they have,etc.. The second part was about the ebay API, which I was interested in because the company I’m working for now is exploring a similar program, so you’ll see more detailed notes there:


45000 product categories
collectibles was the first product category on ebay, it is category id = 1
ebay did approximately $5.6 billion in cars last year

105 million registered users as of 3/1/2004
rate of growth is accelerating quarter over quarter
28 countries with a physical presence and localized website
20 million items for sale at any one time…
1 billion items were listed last year
7 gigabits per second outgoing traffic
10 billion api hits in 2004

in december 2003, 1 of every 3 people on the internet came to ebay

1 in 3 used golf clubs bought in the US are purchased on ebay
valueguide.pga.com uses ebay data to help determine the price of used golf equipment

Ebay isn’t just for knick knacks: more than 125,000 keyword searches for Louis Vuitton, Coach and Prada on ebay every day

— they build a proprietary POS with ebay and significantly reduced costs
— used to cost $23 per item to list & describe each item on ebay (person costs), now approx $.25

highline auctions
— custom system integrator with a business around ebay integration, specifically in cars
— reduced the time it takes to create a professional listing from 30 minutes to under 3 minutes

— solution provider on ebay

use cases
— integration w/ business tools (quickbooks, excel, sap, etc..) (ie: a donation can be estimated for taxes using a data licensing application)
— integration w/ back ends for medium & large retailers, manufacturers

‘we make inefficient markets efficient’
scarce –> in-season reatail –> end of life–> used/vintage
— end of life scenario for retailers
— products at the end of life can be put on ebay programmatically saving companies the most of having to get rid of excess product

top level meta categories
— sports, tickets, etc…
— ‘browseability’ is a one of the challenges
— most likely use cases are sellers listing items programatically

data licensing services
— you can purchase data feeds from ebay so that you can find out what the given price for a given car in a given location is
andale.com: provides ebay pricing and selling recommendations


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *