Three quick eBay items: YAeST (Yet Another Ebay Selling Tool), Paypal split speculation increases and eBay Bucks

March 18, 2010

ChannelAdvisor ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor

I’m interrupting the current eBay changes series to make sure everyone sees a couple of interesting announcements in the eBay World:

YAeST – Yet Another eBay Selling Tool – Earlier this week at Microsoft’s developer conference called Mix, we are hearing that eBay announced a new seller tool based on Microsoft’s Silverlight technology.  Details are thin, but here are some links that shed some light:

  • The new tool is to be called the eBay Simple Lister and was introduced at a key note by eBay VP of Product Development, Raji Arasu
  • There’s a session which has this in the description: Come see how eBay is enhancing the listing experience for the occasional sellers with the eBay Simple Lister application. Learn how the application was built from concept to design to code using Sketchflow and Silverlight 4.”
  • You can read a transcript of the keynote here
  • There’s a screenshot here

So apparently the key features is a web-cam based barcode scanner to pull in the UPC.  I haven’t seen this, but can tell you that the last thing we need in the eBay world is yet another way to list.  The universe of SYI, TurboLister, Blackthorne, SellerManager, SellerManagerPro, etc. is already hard enough to navigate and keep up to date – now they are throwing another tool in the mix.  Uggg.

If you really want to learn more, you can watch this video with one of the developers explaining how he built the beast:

Get Microsoft Silverlight

Paypal Split / rename speculation

Paypal has been on fire lately with news:

  • They are growing in China
  • They have a cool new bump app for the iPhone
  • An IBM relationship
  • eBay management has been out banging the drum with analysts – frequently in Paypal only talks

This activity has speculation running rampant again on a Paypal split from eBay.   Specifically the NY Times ran a piece today with these key points:

  • eBay’s parts are worth $37 billion, or a premium of more than 20 percent to the company’s current enterprise value. It’s time for PayPal to prepare to leave the nest.
  • The company estimates PayPal will generate up to $1 billion in operating profit next year. Put this conservatively on the same multiple as the slower-growing Visa, and its value is over $12 billion, or approaching half eBay’s current enterprise value.
  • ….its other businesses should generate around $2 billion in operating profit this year. Put this on a hefty 25 percent discount to the 13 times multiple on which peers trade, and it’s worth $23 billion according to research from FBR Capital Markets.

Donahoe has consistently said it doesn’t make sense given the synergies, but with the attention they have been lavishing on that part of the business, it makes you wonder.  Also, I can definitely see the ‘sum of the parts’ argument working to unlock shareholder value, so we’ll have to keep an eye on this.

Also, remember in my Paypal post, there were some interesting ‘inside baseball’ nuances that point to an eBay/Paypal drift doing on.

eBay Bucks – a new chapter

We’re getting a lot of questions from sellers who have heard about a new twist to the eBay bucks loyalty program.  Historically the program offered X% back on all eBay purchases to a beta set of buyers where X typically is 2%.

Here is a copy of what was sent to eBay Bucks buyers yesterday: (click to expand)

As you can see, for select merchants, eBay is now offering deeper cash back (6-10%).  Overall, it’s good to see this system get with the times and offer more material discounts. We’ll be monitoring to see what kind of impact it has for this first wave of participating sellers.   I’m still not a fan of the weird ‘burn up and burn down’ aspect of eBay bucks – no other program really works this way and as a consumer, I think it seriously complicates and reduces the value of the program. So a good move forward for eBay Bucks, but it’s still not where it needs to be in my opinion.

The common question we are getting from sellers now is – ‘How do I participate in this program?!” and ‘who pays?”  Stay tuned for more details on this new twist on eBay Bucks.

Seekingalpha disclosure – I am long Google and Amazon. eBay is an investor in ChannelAdvisor