It's a Beautiful Day in the 'Neighborhood' for eBay

Dennis Faas's picture

Ebay, made famous for selling everything from Pez to Picasso, is planning to launch its very own social networking service and promises to offer even more customer-friendly features by the end of 2007.

The service will be called "Neighborhoods" and encourages all users to post photographs, product reviews and miscellaneous shopping tips for others to peruse at their leisure. The service is intended to create a far more visual and interactive experience compared to the standard text-based discussion forums currently found on the eBay website. (Source:

While the introduction of the social networking service was initially intended to silence their critics, eBay is also hoping that "Neighborhoods" will provide the leverage needed to rebound after a dismal second quarter. Recent figures indicate that individuals posted 480 million items on eBay in that period, and while this is still an astronomical figure, the number is down 6% from the first quarter. Even the "power sellers", those who post high volumes of items for sale on a continual basis, totalled only 79.1 million. This number is down 25% compared to only a year earlier. (Source:

So what has changed?

Many consumers have cited the enormous database as a deterrent for shopping online. Since the website appeals to so many different tastes, consumers are getting frustrated with their inability to find the right item while they are searching through countless pages of irrelevant results.

The "Neighborhoods" service plans to offer just that; neighborhoods of different groups pertaining to the different classifications of items up for sale on eBay. For example, "Shoe Heads" is one neighborhood geared specifically to those finding the best deals and latest styles of footwear. With over 600 different neighborhoods, online consumers can take a break from the shopping world and enter a neighborhood that shares music and movie conversations and sports and weather discussions.

In addition to the social networking service, eBay will soon institute a "One Click Bid" option which provides consumers with a better opportunity to secure an item in the final 15 minutes of an auction. Furthermore, eBay will begin to streamline its "My eBay" service which hopes to speed up its cumbersome checkout process. A new feature is also in the works called "Snapshot View" which will be the online equivalence of window shopping, though details are sketchy at this point. (Source:

The global leader in online auctions hopes that the new social networking service, coupled with the forthcoming improvements made to their web site will keep individuals buying and selling on eBay for quite some time.

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