Ebay Opens Up Seller Tools As A Platform

eBay will unveil a new platform strategy called Project Echo tomorrow at their developer conference that is aimed at better servicing its seller community.

Ebay has had a rich set of developer APIs for some time now that let third party developers bring eBay functions and features into their applications. Now they are expanding those APIs and asking Developers to build apps to appear within the eBay Selling Manager, which 700,000 or so large eBay sellers use to manage their listings and customer information. Until now, all of the tools in Selling Manager have been created by Ebay.

A few partners will demo applications tomorrow – Hosted Support will show a CRM application to help sellers manage buyer communications and contact information, and Terapeak will show off an application that provides recent market research data to sellers, based on their listings (so if the price of iPhones suddenly drops when the 3G is announced, sellers who list those will get a notice).

The platform is far from actually launching – an alpha version will be available late this year, and will launch publicly in early 2009, they say.

This is analogous to Facebook Platform, Salesforce AppExchange and Google’s Open Social. When the platform launches there will be a defined markup language for developers to use (Ebay’s Max Mancini says they will look to Facebook and Open Social for guidance, and won’t reinvent the wheel), and other tools.