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eBay Launches Networking Feature

Posted on 10.09.2007
eBay is hoping to take advantage of the social networking storm with their new "Neighborhoods" feature. Users can post photos, reviews and responses, taking eBay from a huge, faceless network of sellers towards a more intimate merchandising community. Neighborhoods will group categories in an effort to give the user a better way to find what they are looking for and like-minded sellers and buyers - using data aggregated from eBay blogs, guides and reviews.

This is a big step for eBay, which has seen its user base decline recently while other social networking sites integrate e-commerce into user profiles. The number of listings by "power sellers" is down 25 percent from a year ago. This is essentially a way for users to streamline their shopping experience and eBay hopes it will encourage users to spend more time on the site and make connections with each other much easier.

"People who are passionate about certain brands, trends, celebrities or products have been discovering and trading with one another for years," said Jamie Iannone, an eBay vice president in charge of buyer experience. "Neighborhoods makes this even easier."

What Neighborhoods could also do is create bidding wars. There is a good chance that by forming communities and connecting people together, faceless bidders suddenly become rivals and sellers become close competitors. In all, this sounds like an excellent way for eBay to create even more loyalty and turn the online auction site into an entire commercial association.

Some other improvements eBay plans to launch later this year include "Snapshot View" (window shopping online), "One Click Bid" (a way to jump ahead in bidding during the final 15 minutes), and speeding up the checkout process.
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