EBay is removing some fees for using APIs in its Web services-based eBay Developers Program.
The program allows for developers to build sites that drive
transactions on eBay, and then get paid by eBay. Or, developers can
build software that is used by sellers as front ends to eBay, whereupon
developers are paid by sellers. About 22 percent of eBay listings are
generated though these third-party applications.
Fees have been charged for using APIs to access the program.
“Essentially for us, we really wanted to build on the past success
we’ve had and we looked at what are the barriers to innovation on the
eBay platform and the cost was one of those barriers,” said Greg
Isaacs, director of the eBay Developers Program
The free API usage applies to developers using the unified schema eBay
announced last February. API calls made using legacy schema will be
supported until next June and will continue to be charged at previous
call rates. This provides an incentive to move to the unified schema,
EBay has charged US$1.25 per 1,000 APIs calls as a starting rate, or
annual fees starting at $500. But these go away for unified schema
users, as do certification fees paid to eBay employees to verify the
efficiency of applications before they go online. Developers also can
promote their application in the eBay Solutions Directory, for
third-party solutions designed to enhance selling on eBay.
Isaacs would not disclose how much revenue eBay would sacrifice by
eliminating these fees, but he pointed out that this revenue has never
been important to eBay; revenue from buyers and sellers is what counts.
Also on Monday, eBay will launch a contest called “eBay Developer
Challenge 2006,” intended to inspire developers to build software that
supports the eBay marketplace, Isaacs said. To be judged by a panel of
eBay employees, the contest will have winners in the individual
developer and collaborative development categories. Runners up also
will be named.
The winner of the individual category will win $500 and a free trip to
the O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference in San Diego next March.
Begun in 2000, eBay’s developer program is supported by about 21,000 developers, half of whom have joined in the past year.
By Paul Krill – InfoWorld (US online)