Tracking and Testing for Ajax and Heavy Client Web 2.0
Tripod, AJAX, cgi is all you need to track visitors to your listings. You don't need your own hardware and you can get started quickly!
- Use Tripod for free hosting
- Pixel tracking via cgi (See Sample)
- A/B testing to discover best usability choices
- Go slow with one control and one treatment groups (50/50)
- Increment treatment group to detect group interaction
Best eBay app? Nominate yourself for a 2010 eBay Star Developer Award!
It's that time again! We're opening up nominations for our annual eBay Star Developer Awards that we honor every year at the eBay Developers Conference, happening this June. Developers and their applications are eligible to be nominated if they build apps using the eBay API platform and if they have represented the very best of the eBay developer community over the past year in one of our nomination categories.
This year, we've got five categories for eBay API developers for our 2009-2010 awards:
- DSR Rockstar (improving customer service & buyer experience)
- Most Innovative (innovative problem solve or use of technology)
- Early Adopter (first to adopt key features like item variations, or new APIs like BestMatchItemDetails)
- Service to the Developer Community (most helpful to fellow members of the eBay developer community)
- Rapid Evolution (boosting seller efficiency in a dynamic marketplace)
For inspiration, check out our 2009 Star Developer Award winners.
Please send your nomination to us (by clicking any of the above categories to nominate your favorite app), no later than Friday, April 23rd. Be sure to include:
- Your name and contact info
- The nominee's name and contact info.Yes, you can nominate yourself!
- The award category, and a brief explanation as to why you think the application is worthy of consideration
Also, be sure to register by April 23rd to take advantage of the Early Bird pricing of just $99 for the eBay Developers Conference 2010, happening Tuesday -- Thursday, June 8-10 in the heart of Silicon Valley -- downtown San Jose, CA!
Don't miss this great pricing for an amazing event, and get your nominations in no later than Friday, April 23rd!
Effortless Web 2.0 Marketing with Twibler
eBay Sellers who want to try out Web 2.0 marketing techniques can do it effortlessly with Twibler. Just sign up with your Twitter info and your eBay username, and Twibler will start publishing your eBay auctions to your Twitter feed. Think of it as a lightweight blog or newsletter that gets updated whenever you list something. Add the occasional coupon or "fire sale" to your Twitter feed and give your customers a great incentive to subscribe!
Twibler is brought to you by Go Global Gadget LLC. They specialize in gadgets and widgets for platforms from iGoogle, to Mac Dashboard, to Facebook, to Vista Sidebar, and more.
But Twibler is not their only eBay/Twitter mash-up. At the request of one of their fans, they came up with Price Tweet. Sellers include the Price Tweet code in their listings. Then buyers can click the Price Tweet, add their Twitter name, and get a Tweet when the item goes higher than their target price. Use it to let you know when you need to increase your bid, or to find out if an item has gotten too far out of reach.
The last of their eBay tools is Universal Search Tabs for your iGoogle page. Add these tabs to your iGoogle page and you can search eBay listings, Wikipedia entries, and more.
This kind of tool is perfect for generating affiliate revenue. Create a tool that helps people find what they want on eBay, and eBay will pay you a commission for helping to connect buyers with the items they want. I'm guessing that's how they manage to give all these cool tools away for free!
ZinText Makes your Site an Affiliate Powerhouse!
ZinText is a free service that can be used on any website to automatically link keywords to products on eBay. The links look similar to other in-text advertising links, with a double underline. When a user hovers over the link, a window pops with live listings on eBay related to that keyword.
You can try it out yourself on the ZinText demo page.
ZinText uses your existing eBay Partner Network campaign ID, so you will see the clicks showing up in your normal eBay Partner Network reports.
ZinText is able to offer this service for free because 10% of your clicks go under their campaign ID. This means ZinText makes money the same way you do - through the eBay Partner Network.
Track your auctions anywhere with ahTXT
A new startup called ahTXT has just launched a new application that relays real-time eBay seller activity directly to your cell phone. Now sellers can receive notifications of events as they happen, including sales, questions from buyers, best offers, and even feedback. It's highly configurable if you wish to tune the types of events and times to receive them. The service is free and easy to use -- two minutes, and you're ready to go. Sign up at ahTXT.com.
The ahTXT developers are actually eBay PowerSellers with 100% positive feedback (5390 score). Neil Mansilla (developer) and his wife, Laura (seller) are always on the move for their jobs. Staying connected to their online sales inquiries and other activities was always a challenge:
We used WAP on our phones, hot-spots for laptops, and even mobile broadband. Those were too slow or cumbersome. We decided then we needed to build our own app to help us stay informed, save time and increase sales through better responsiveness. We were familiar with the eBay Trading API, building in-house sales automation tools, and that's how ahTXT was born, out of necessity. Through the process of turning a single-process widget into a scalable Web and mobile application, we also discovered the very large eBay Developer community and active support channels.
Mansilla says he has a deluge of ideas for new eBay buyer and seller applications:
We look forward to extending new features into ahTXT and creating new and innovative ways to help sellers be more effective on eBay. And right as rain, there will be an eBay API call and developer forum to help get it done. For now, we hope that all sellers will enjoy what ahTXT can do for them. There's nothing like the feeling of sitting through a narcoleptic Power Point presentation at work and receiving an ahTXT on your cell that your forklift just sold for $8500.
eBay Desktop is Out -- Track Further Progress on the eBay Desktop Blog
I'm proud to let you know that eBay Desktop is now out of beta, and version 1.0 is available at http://desktop.ebay.com. With eBay Desktop you can search and browse, watch, and bid on items, and use new features like feeds and popup alerts. We've also launched the eBay Desktop Blog, where you can track the application's progress.
This is the Developers blog, so why, you might ask, are you talking about it here? Because it is built on eBay Web Services, that's why. The project started out as a prototype to demonstrate what developers could do using eBay's web services. But based on the fantastic response from users who saw the prototype we decided to keep developing it.
The Developer Program's primary goal is to encourage third parties to develop applications, so we considered if it was in the best interest of our developer community to develop our own desktop tool instead of leaving it just to third parties. Our conclusion was that marketing a desktop tool is very difficult if you don't have an existing user base, and so if we didn't build one it was unlikely that an eBay desktop tool for buyers would gain critical mass.
But as I said at the conference last year, I'm open to the idea of having third parties integrating into eBay Desktop in the future. We just launched the 1.0, and we need to prove that the idea is a valid one in the market before investing the large amount required to build eBay Desktop into a platform. So, if you are excited about that possibility, the best thing that you can do is to help spread the word about eBay Desktop!
If you haven't tried eBay Desktop, try it for just a few minutes, and you may find yourself really liking it. A special offer just for developers: convince 5 people to try it also, and I'll buy you a drink at the Developers Conference in Chicago in June -- no proof needed... I'll trust your word.
Deal4it Delivers New Interactive eBay Experience
Remember the good old days when you are greeted by a sales person as you walk into a store to shop? Well, experiences like that are certainly uncommon in the online shopping world, and eBay is no exception. But thanks to Deal4it.com, that’s about to change.
Deal4it has found an ingenious way to integrate human interactivity into the eBay shopping experience by embedding Rich Interactive Video (RIV) into the listing gallery canvas. Various professional actors will then talk to the shopper in the form of greetings, encouragements, etc.
To make the experience even more interesting, shoppers can barter with the video characters right in the widget, through the Best Offer feature that is available in many eBay listings. The actor can then inform the shopper right away on whether or not the seller has accepted the offer.
"Our unique technology lets buyers actively deal for items with real people who appear to walk right onto the computer screen. The Rich Interactive Video engages shoppers and enhances the selling process by making the experience more fun and entertaining," said Ty Ricker, director of new business development for Deal4it Technologies.
In addition, the same widget can be reduced down to a standard size skyscraper ad that scrolls through listings from a particular eBay seller or listings of certain items. The engaging shopping experience is only enabled if a shopper clicks on one of the items in the scrolling gallery. This kind of rich interactive experience delivered through an online ad is what innovation is all about. Thanks to Deal4It, eBay sellers can now benefit from having a whole team of virtual sales people doing the talking 24/7.
The Future is...Paper?
eBay is an amazing marketplace, connecting millions of buyers and countless sellers. But how can you reach those buyers who might not be checking eBay day and night? Here's one neat idea from our eBay Innovation team, eBay Flyer!
Start with an eBay Item ID, then eBay Flyer does the rest, making an attractive, printable flyer pre-filled with information about your item. Just print your flyer, cut the strips and tape, staple or pin it up where you think it will be noticed. Curious humans will be drawn like moths to a porch light and investigate your new poster. If interested, they’ll grab a little tear-strip for future reference. When they return home, entering the compact URL on the tear-strip will take them directly to your auction.
Best for large, awkward or locale-specific items because who wants to pay shipping? Couches, TV’s, cars, furniture and anything else you don’t want to drag to the post office are perfect candidates.
Try eBay flyer for yourself. Could it be that the future is paper?
The Art of Affiliate Marketing
Facebook, ah yes, the flagship of open platform social networking sites, the epic dominance of growth in this lucrative online networking environment. With such an enticing prize to be had, why not attempt conquering your own piece of the Facebook social landscape?
One such intrepid affiliate developer has truly helped the eBay art community reinvent its online presence by plugging it into the Facebook social graph, effectively leveraging the need for self-representation to virally market beautiful pieces of art available for sale on eBay. Appropriately enough, Tuan Le named his Facebook application "ArtFest."
ArtFest has made browsing art listings on eBay easy, and more intuitive in some cases than eBay's own browsing experience. That plus the vast supply of beautiful paintings for you to showcase and buy surely augments the beauty of one's profile and personal life. Who said "ads" had to be boring and intrusive?
eBay salutes the artistic innovation of Tuan Le and the support of our art community for sprinkling Facebook with a dash of aesthetic enrichment.
Cool New Development Tool from Bungee Labs
Our very own Alan Lewis is always on the lookout for cool tools. This week he looked at Bungee Connect, and here's what he had to say:
I met with Lyle Ball and Brad Hintze from Bungee Labs yesterday (notable for building a working app with their tools and the eBay Shopping API mere hours after its announcement). Since June, they’ve greatly improved their rich web app development platform…called Bungee Connect. In fact, this past weekend, they released a new build that seems to be worth consideration by eBay developers. Check out a sample video.
I asked Bungee why developers should care about the software platform, and they had this to say:
"For developers, the Bungee apps are built more quickly by automating much of the interactivity so more focus can be placed on the application value. An important piece of the Bungee offering is the deployment model. When an application is ready for end users, only a couple of mouse clicks and the application can be made available through the Bungee infrastructure."
Create an account here and check it out. If you find it useful, let us know.