eBay Ending Support for Blackthorne–What it Means and Next Steps

November 1, 2013

Marketplaces ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor

Today the news came out that eBay will be ending support for its high-volume solution, Blackthorne. This change will impact both the basic and pro editions of Blackthorne.

In this blog we’ll dig into why eBay is making this decision and what it means for retailers using Blackthorne.

Logo-blackthorn_logo2

What is/was Blackthorne? 

Blackthorne is a desktop (not cloud/hosted/SaaS) software that eBay acquired in December of 1999.  It is targeted towards larger sellers and eBay recommended ti for listing large amounts of products in bulk.

Why is eBay EOLing it?

eBay has a portfolio of 5+ ways to sell:

  • Sell Your Item Page (SYI) – On the main part of the site, just click ‘sell’ – this is what we call SYI.
  • Seller Manager (basic and pro) (SM) – cloud/hosted solution for smaller sellers, SM is oriented towards listing management and most sellers marry it with TurboLister
  • Turbo Lister (TL) – Very old solution for listing a lot of products in bulk – kind of like using  a spreadsheet to bulk upload products.
  • Blackthorne (BT) – Desktop for larger sellers
  • File Exchange (FE) – Very complex system that moves files back and forth – not used very much that we’ve seen.

Here’s the blurb from eBay’s website about BT->

Ebay_blackthorne_logo

At the same time, eBay is innovating on the user experience at a tremendous pace.  I like to think of the buying experience and selling experience as intimately connected. There’s a great Chinese philosophy that illustrates this: Yin and Yang.

The yin/yang of eBay’s buyer and seller experiences


Yin_yang

 

I’ve explained my theory previously, but the gist is that the buying experience (Yin) and the selling experience (Yang) are completely interconnected and inseparable.  Every great experience on eBay can be traced back to a great seller.  Also, you can’t sell anything without a great buying experience.

Now here’s the problem if you are eBay.  You add a cool new feature to the buyer-side (Motors fitment, strike-through pricing, promotion engine) but sellers don’t adopt it until you update SYI, SM, TL, BT, etc., so the buyer can’t use the cool new feature because the sellers aren’t supporting it due to the lack of support in eBay’s myriad seller tools.  It’s all interconnected, and it means that eBay not only has to create awesome buyer-side features, but update all 5+ options to support it, which is a lot of work and inefficient for eBay.

Also, high-volume sellers are the hardest to support.  Not only do they clamor for the latest and greatest eBay features, but they want flexibility through APIs, flexible shipping options, advanced inventory and order management, etc.

Blackthorne users – what should you do?

We’ve been working with eBay closely to help provide a great alternative for BT users.  We’re also offering a special incentive to help Blackthorne customers make the transition.  Contact marketing@channeladvisor.com for more information.

Why ChannelAdvisor?

So why should you transition to ChannelAdvisor?  Well, we’ve been working for over a decade to help mid- to enterprise-level online retailers sell on eBay.  We’re global, multichannel, scalable, reliable and we’ve got award-winning technical support to get you up and running quickly.

The chart below offers a more direct comparison of Blackthorne Pro vs. ChannelAdvisor:

 

Feature Blackthorne Pro ChannelAdvisor
Bulk Listing Yes Yes, with duplicate listing prevention
Automatic Updates No Yes, automatically based on data change.
Data Transformation for Listing Optimization No Yes
Mutiple Marketplaces No Yes
Design Template Yes Yes
Ad Scheduling Yes Yes
Buyer Communication Management Yes Yes, with post-sales order tracking
Inventory Quantity Control Yes, but for eBay only Yes, and can juggle across marketplaces.
SaaS based No Yes
Multiple eBay ID Support Yes Yes
Item-specifics mapping Manual Yes, automatically
Global reach Yes, but only eBay US, UK, Canada and Australia Yes, for eBay and hundreds of other channels

 

We are 100% aligned with our customers to be successful on eBay, so we provide features like our eBay 360 dashboard, which highlights GMV, top-selling products, items needing to ship, DSRs and feedback so sellers can achieve and maintain Top-Rated Seller status.  We also recently released eBay Actionable Retail Insights, a feature that helps you optimise your listings for your best performance.

Finally, we are able to pull the bulk of your data from BT into ChannelAdvisor due to our partnership with eBay, so you can hit the ground running and not miss a beat.  Think of it as an opportunity to upgrade your business, automate those tedious tasks that are occupying hours of your day, increase the number of users utilizing your selling software and expand to a dozen international eBay sites around the globe.