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Hey Kids, There's a Revolution in Retailing

Posted by: Rob Hof on August 16, 2005

Robert Scoble throws out an intriguing new vision of online retail following his recent visit with the folks at eBay’s developers program:

“For instance, check out That site sells tickets. Search for, say, Dave Matthews, and it queries eBay, among others, and brings back what tickets are available and the current price.

Are you noticing a theme yet? I think we’re about to see a revolution in retailing. Someone could build an interesting new store using a combination of Google Maps or MSN Virtual Earth, Amazon, eBay, and other Web services. … If I were a kid I’d be building an online retail store.”

And it’s not just eBay that’s enabling this to happen. Amazon, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and others are opening up their features to outsiders who can mash them up into entirely new services—not just retail stores but many kinds of businesses. To be honest, it makes me a little dizzy trying to figure out how all this will play out. But it’s a good dizzy, you know, that euphoric kind you got when you were a kid spinning in circles on the grass and falling over as the world wheels crazily around you.

Reader Comments

Jim Conrad

August 18, 2005 6:12 PM

Robert has his finger on the pulse of an intriguing market space. There are some very interesting developments in this arena from simple price aggregation to elaborate weighted models to compare products various specs and flavors. With the broadband boom - expect the more advanced shopping sites to offer a rich QVC-like online experience with a bevy of consumer research behind it for the most savvy shoppers.

Bundle that with the local shopping results combination and you have consumer nirvana where they can research products online and buy locally. Not perfected yet but getting close. Have you seen the price check option that Google offers via your cell phone? It's a brave new world for shoppers and the brick and mortar is taking notice!

Todd Levy

August 30, 2005 5:00 PM

> Someone could build an interesting new
> store using a combination of Google Maps
> or MSN Virtual Earth, Amazon, eBay, and
> other Web services

While this is a realistic and fantastic vision, be sure to read the license agreements of the various providers before developing such a service.

For example, Amazon's agreement...

...would prevent you from placing links to eBay auctions alongside product details provided by Amazon.

See the section "C. Linking and Diversion" for specific restrictions and other legalese.

So, while you could provide both services within a single site, actually "mashing" them together in a singular context (i.e. the fantastic part) would be prohibited.

toddlevy [@] hotmail [dot] com

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Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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