EBay launches programs for developers

EBay will expand the application development programs for its namesake auction site and for its online payment unit PayPal when it kicks off its annual eBay Developers Conference in New Orleans on Wednesday.

EBay will announce that it is opening up its developers' program for the first time for members of its affiliate program, and that it has created a directory of third-party software and services available for eBay buyers and sellers, the company said. Meanwhile, the PayPal unit will announce a new software development kit (SDK) for Microsoft's .Net developers.

EBay and its PayPal unit have been busy this year reaching out to developers to encourage the creation of e-commerce applications that tap into functionality from their platforms through application programming interfaces (APIs) and SDKs.

For example, Consumer Depot, a liquidator of surplus computer products, initially sold merchandise via eBay manually, but the volume of business quickly exceeded Consumer Depot's ability to process orders, according to information on the eBay Web site.

Thus, Consumer Depot joined the eBay Developers Program and built an application that automates the sales process by linking its back-end inventory and accounting system with the eBay platform.

The application automates the placement of orders, updating of inventory, printing of shipping labels and fulfillment processing. The application let the company go from running 200 eBay auctions per day to 1,000, according to information on eBay's Web site.

EBay's decision to add an affiliate tier to its developers' program seeks to help affiliates increase and improve their efforts to drive sales to the eBay marketplace. Affiliates get commissions for promoting eBay, its categories and listings from their Web sites.

Meanwhile, the eBay Solutions Directory will list in one place existing software and services that eBay users can tap to enhance their buying and selling activities. Finally, the PayPal SDK for Microsoft's ASP.Net aims to simplify the creation of .Net applications that can tap into the PayPal platform.

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