A number of key developments to note for eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) watchers:
eBay and Third Party Auction Listing Tools
In recent weeks, there have been a few corporate actions around third-party auction service providers. First, ChannelAdvisor acquired Marketworks to create the leading US-based e-commerce solutions provider - in which eBay owns a minority stake. Then, only last week, eBAy acquired Afterbuy.com, the leading auction management company in eBay's second largest market, Germany.
Here is my take on these recent transactions. While I have no doubt this is a business eBay would love to be more involved in, it is extremely risky to do so via acquisitions. In other words, I do not see eBay acquiring ChannelAdvisor outright anytime soon. The reason being that they would risk angering a very fickle group of US sellers which would no doubt view such an acquisition as losing more control and fees to eBay. eBay currently has enough seller problems to worry about before they try fixing something that isn't broken.
But they acquired Afterbuy didn't they? Yes, but I think the dynamics of this acquisition were a little different. First, I think it was a defensive acquisition - aimed to keep it from falling into the wrong hands. Second, eBay does not have such a vocal and critical group of sellers in Europe as it does in the US. Third, it gives eBay a bargaining chip if ChannelAdvisor does come into play one day. And fourth, and most important, it gives eBay immediate access to a proprietary auction listing/management technology.
This last point is very important because it now allows eBay to follow the same strategy they pursued with Kijiji. In other words, they can take a successful tool in Europe and simply open it's doors to the US and see what happens. Very little risk and a large potential upside. And of course, peace with sellers.
eBay Launch Shop Victoriously Microsite
eBay launched a new flashy site at shopvictoriously.ebay.com to complement their Shop Victoriously advertising campaign. eBay claims that it's a site "where you can be entertained, play a game, dream big, and maybe even win big!" This is because in addition to being a showcase for the various TV ads that have aired, there will be daily "Win-Stant" prizes and even a chance to win $50,000.