My Top 10 e-Commerce Predictions for 2008

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Includes: AABA, AMZN, EBAY, OSTK
by: Randy Smythe

I know it seems early to be making predictions for next year, but I've seen them pop up here and there on other blogs, and I don't want to be the last one to hop on the train. One caveat, these predictions are for entertainment purposes only. Don't make any business/personal decisions based on what you read.

1. eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) and Yahoo (YHOO) Merge. At some point next year I see these two companies coming together as their respective share prices flounder. I just can't see investors putting up with another year like the last two. Yahoo is a on a short leash and eBay will be, especially as the company moves towards changing its marketplace fee structure.

2. If eBay and Yahoo don't merge, I believe Meg Whitman will leave the company to begin her next adventure. John Donahoe is becoming more of a public figure, and seems to be the likely replacement. If #1 happens, then I believe Meg will stay. (Remember this is for entertainment purposes only.)

3. Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), will continue to make in-roads in the 3P business. It will add Automobiles towards the end of the year and begin directly competing with eBay Motors.

4. ChannelAdvisor will go public. (There's no need to expand on that.)

5. Amazon will acquire Overstock.com (NASDAQ:OSTK), and that will be the end of TV commercials with "Its all about the O," as the tagline. Overstock has a decidedly different customer demographic than Amazon (60% female), and would fit into a portfolio of e-commerce sites.

6. eBay will institute category based pricing for each of it's major categories.

7. StubHub will sign a deal with the NFL prior to next year's football season.

8. eBay will separate Stores from the core site, and provide Store Sellers with the marketing tools to market their products all over the web including listing in eBay's Core, co-op advertising through Yahoo, as well as listing on Shopping.com. In order to make this work the company will need to develop a separate platform with a shopping cart system. It already has this with Express so all it needs to do is make Express the UI for each store while the current listing system supplies the inventory.

With this new site sellers would pay a single monthly hosting fee and only pay listing fees or FVF if they choose to sell through eBay's CORE, or a Stores-based Site like Express (don't worry sellers it won't be the same Express as we see today), or it could market its product using paid search or other methods. Store/Shops would become the worlds largest collection of independent Websites. This is not as difficult as the company seems to want to make it - Express front end and Stores back-end for each individual store. The technology is already in place.

9. eBay's PR department will return my emails.

10. MyBlogUtopia will replace TechCrunch as the top blog. (You have to think big folks.)

Disclosure: The author doesn't have a position in any of the stocks mentioned in this piece.