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Categories: e-commerce

Glyde Debuts New Online Marketplace. E-Commerce 2.0?

Posted by: Rob Hof on November 16

You wouldn't think the world would need another place for people to buy and sell used media such as DVDs, books, video games, and CDs. eBay and, along with...

Interview: Google China's Kai-Fu Lee Debuts Innovation Works

Posted by: Rob Hof on September 06

Kai-Fu Lee became famous in 2005 when the engineering whiz left Microsoft, where he had created Microsoft Research Asia, to head search giant Google’s operation in China. Microsoft sued, charging...

Entrepreneurs, Venture Capitalists Gather to Figure Out What the Heck Happened

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 29

... and what comes next. Crowded into a small meeting room in a Silicon Valley hotel this morning is an overflow gathering of entrepreneurs at VentureBeat's Downturn Roundtable. They're here,...

Why Bill Me Later Said "Buy Me Today" To eBay

Posted by: Peter Burrows on October 06

The timing of eBay's $945 million purchase of electronic payments up-n-comer Bill Me Later is certainly interesting. After all, the outlook for e-commerce sales is looking more dour by the...

Apple Plunges; Is It Cheap Tech's Time?

Posted by: Rob Hof on September 29

Apple's stock plunged a rather stunning 18% today, which is all the more amazing since the Dow fell only--only!--7%. Analysts are worried consumers will cut back, and it's not a...

High Gas Fueling E-Commerce

Posted by: Catherine Holahan on July 25

Research firm eMarketer has some good news for online retailers: high gas prices are fueling more Web shopping. In a July 25 report senior analyst Jeffrey Grau points to several...

eBay, Embrace Your Inner Retailer

Posted by: Rob Hof on January 24

That's the advice of Stifel, Nicolaus analyst Scott Devitt, and I think he's on to something. In his latest note on eBay, on which he has a buy, he says...

Proximic Aims High with New Search and Ad Technology

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 01

We're all so trained to typing a couple of keywords into Google that we forget there are other ways of searching for and finding stuff online. A few upstarts such...

Edgeio's New Model for Paid Content

Posted by: Rob Hof on August 10

Edgeio, a site that aggregates classified listings across the Internet, today is introducing a new way for content creators to sell their digital wares--and for publishers to distribute it and...

It's eBay Vs. Craiglist Now

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 03

Here everybody thought Craigslist was safe from an ever-expanding eBay by virtue of the latter's 25% stake in the popular classified-ad service. No dice. Today, eBay quietly launched its heretofore...

So Much for All Those Sell Ratings on

Posted by: Rob Hof on April 24 continues to confound analysts and investors with its spending on new technologies and free shipping, but at least in the first quarter, it did so on the upside. With...'s Holiday Surprise

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 01

No, I don't mean Amazon's fourth-quarter net profit, which fell 50% (largely on its having to pay taxes compared with a tax benefit from a year ago)--though it did top...

Cyber Monday Hype Pays Off

Posted by: Rob Hof on November 30

A lot of stories have been explaining that Cyber Monday, supposedly the kickoff of the holiday shopping season online, isn't really all it's cracked up to be. In fact, I... Visual Shopping Search

Posted by: Rob Hof on November 08

Anyone who uses search engines to look for products knows the process can be an exercise in frustration. Whether it be Google or shopping comparison sites like, it’s often...

Jeff Bezos' New New Thing

Posted by: Rob Hof on November 02 has been rolling out a number of very unretail-like services over the past year, from the Amazon Mechanical Turk to the Elastic Compute Cloud. I recently met with...

An Upside Surprise From

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 24

After shocking investors in the second quarter with disappointing earnings, turned the tables today with a surprisingly positive third quarter. Clearly, it's still spending a lot on new technologies...

eBay: Not Out of the Woods Yet, But a Few Good Signs

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 18

Quick take on eBay's third quarter: It looks like eBay's plan to recharge its core marketplace, begun earlier this year, isn't firing on all cylinders yet. Gross merchandise volume rose...

More Trouble for eBay in China

Posted by: Rob Hof on September 26

The departure last week of Martin Wu, head of eBay Eachnet, eBay's site in China, has some news outlets there reporting that the online marketplace is exiting the market entirely... May Get a Second Life

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 23

When I wrote a cover story recently about Second Life and other virtual worlds, I immediately wondered why any retailer, say, wouldn't want to set up in-world, so...

eBay Gets into the Ad Game, Sort Of

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 11

I couldn't make it early enough to the eBay Developer Conference in Las Vegas to hear the company announce eBay AdContext, which at first sounds like a competitor to Google's...

The Future of eBay

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 04

Most of the stories on eBay's analyst day today focused on the the company's vow to grow faster than e-commerce at large--and how that's a big challenge given its size...

Virtual World, Real ATMs

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 02

The one thing about my recent story, "Virtual World, Real Money," that still mystifies a lot of people is the idea that virtual money inside an online game can be...

eBay Takes the Express Train

Posted by: Rob Hof on April 21

During eBay's earnings call this week, CEO Meg Whitman said the company's new eBay Express site, which I wrote about a couple weeks ago, would launch next week. But...

How Do You Shop Online?

Posted by: Rob Hof on April 03

I've been noticing how many new kinds of e-commerce venues are sprouting up lately, from the fledgling Google Base and classified-ad startups like Edgeio and to upcoming offerings from...

Edgeio's New Blog Platform

Posted by: Rob Hof on March 24

When Edgeio soft-launched a few weeks ago, it got a lot of deserved attention for its novel idea of vacuuming up classified-ad listings logically tagged "listing" on millions of blogs...

PayPal's Goin' Mobile

Posted by: Rob Hof on March 23

eBay's PayPal is getting back to its roots as a person-to-person payment service with a new mobile service. You can find out more here, but essentially, you can use your...

Edgeio Edges Toward Launch--and a Clash with E-Commerce Giants?

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 09

Edgeio, the much-anticipated, secretive startup by onetime RealNames founder Keith Teare and TechCrunch blogger Mike Arrington, suddenly isn't so secret anymore. Although its "official" launch is weeks away, possibly Feb....

Quickie Reader Survey: Have you used "Bill Me Later?"

Posted by: Peter Burrows on December 29

Hi, folks. I'm trying to determine the popularity of the "Bill Me Later" payment option that is popping up on e-commerce sites such as Wal-Mart, Priceline and Continental Airlines. The... Postpones IPO Due to (Ahem) Market Conditions

Posted by: Rob Hof on December 21

I wasn't the only one to wonder why investors would buy into the IPO of a money-losing company that's growing more slowly than its e-commerce peers. My colleague Tim Mullaney...

Why I (Mostly) Don't Use Shopping Comparison Sites

Posted by: Rob Hof on December 04

In writing a review of Google's Froogle shopping site, I remembered again that I just don't use shopping comparison sites such as Froogle,, and Shopzilla very much. It got...

Cyber Monday: The Results

Posted by: Rob Hof on November 30

I'm kind of surprised how my article on how Cyber Monday isn't all it's cracked up to be has prompted so many folks out there to come down rather hard...

Aaaaaaah! It's Santa!

Posted by: Rob Hof on November 29

I'm completing an online survey for, which I do on occasion to see what issues online retailers deem important. Someone in BizRate's survey creation department must have a...

The Cyber Monday Myth

Posted by: Rob Hof on November 28

OK, it's not entirely a myth, this notion that a lot of people come back from the Thanksgiving holiday and hop on their company's broadband connection to shop. But after...

Gadgets Dominate Online Holiday Shopping

Posted by: Rob Hof on November 27

When it comes to holiday shopping online, it looks like electronics rules this year. No wonder, I suppose, with the iPod Nano and the Xbox 360 in the lineup. Still,...

Prime Time for Amazon Prime

Posted by: Rob Hof on November 22

When introduced its Amazon Prime program, where you pay $79 a year for free two-day shipping, some analysts thought it would prove to be a money-loser. Amazon itself said...

If at First You Don't Succeed, Again

Posted by: Rob Hof on November 18

After failing to keep up with the likes of the first time around, following an IPO just before the Nasdaq bubble burst in early 2000, looks like it's...

Will Higher Gas Prices Spark More E-Commerce?

Posted by: Rob Hof on September 19

Shmuel Gniwisch, the CEO of the online jewelry store, thinks so. He doesn't have hard evidence that the cost of driving to stores will drive people online, but he's...

Measuring Amazon's Not-So-Long Tail

Posted by: Rob Hof on August 07

One factoid immediately struck me in Chris Anderson's widely read October 2004 Wired magazine article, "The Long Tail." He put the percentage of "long tail"--that is, the relatively obscure books...

Lessons from eBay Live

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 27

After spending three days up close and personal with 11,600 of eBay's members, I'm beginning to think the conventional wisdom about its recent decline is wrong--or at least behind the...

Meg Makes Nice

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 24

After months of complaints from its sellers, it's clear that eBay is finally paying more attention. On Thursday night, CEO Meg Whitman extended some olive branches, drawing big cheers...

Yet Another eBay Marketplace... and Another... and...

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 23

Whatever sellers may criticize eBay for, and they always do and always will, they can't accuse it of standing still. Today, as its annual eBay Live! members conference cranks...

More Fun with Google Wallet

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 21

Forrester Research analyst Charlene Li has some interesting thoughts about what Google might do with the online payment system it's supposed to be working on. I'm not so sure many...

Amazon's Split Personality: So What?

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 09

Nick Carr has an interesting piece on BusinessWeek Online today that suggests spin off its software business, which helps other merchants sell on Amazon's site. His argument: That business...

Another Comparison Shopping Shoe Drops

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 06

Less than a week after eBay announced it would buy, another comparison shopping site has been snapped up. E.W. Scripps just said it's buying Shopzilla, known until recently as...

Yahoo! Tries Yet Again in Auctions

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 05

Closing the Barn Door After the Horses Are Long Gone, Chapter 47: Yahoo! is doing away with listing fees for its auctions, AuctionBytes reported tonight. According to the auction news...

eBay Goes

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 01

The news that eBay is buying came as a surprise to many folks. But maybe not to readers of my commentary back in January, after eBay's fourth-quarter profits missed...

Google Vs. TV

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 24

No contest, according to one stat from the latest Forrester Research/ survey of online retail: Average percentage of new customers acquired from the following sources: Search engine marketing: 43% Offline...

Advice from Jeff Bezos to Investors: Patience

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 17 has an interesting new feature that lets you see how often a particular word occurs in a book, and the most frequent show up in bigger type. If such...

eBay's Stealthy New Classified Ads Site

Posted by: Rob Hof on March 08

Following scattered rumors, offers a bit of detail on, which is a new network of classified ads that eBay quietly launched in six countries. The stated goal: to...

Retailers: Don't look a gift horse in the mouth

Posted by: Rob Hof on March 01

It never fails. As soon as I find a restaurant I love, it goes under. I felt the same way yesterday, when Circuit City announced it's ending a partnership with...

Amazon's Prime Challenge

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 12's new shipping club, in which customers pay $79 a year for unlimited free two-day delivery and discounted next-day delivery on in-stock items, has gotten mixed reviews. Some say...

Phun with phishers

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 07

I just got yet another one of those e-mails that asks me to verify my eBay account. It's bogus, of course. Anti-phishing experts rightly tell you not to respond at...

eBay blinks

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 06

Well, just a little. Amid mounting anger by eBay sellers over recent fee hikes, the company early Sunday announced a small fee cut and expanded customer service. Will they be...

A silver lining in the clouds over Amazon?

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 03

Investors sure whomped Feb. 3, the day after it missed fourth-quarter profit expectations. But they may have overlooked an intriguing sign of better things to come. ......

What's up at eBay? (Expenses!)

Posted by: Rob Hof on January 20

If there's one thing investors love about eBay, it's how little the online marketplace has had to spend to get that runaway growth when compared with retailers online or off....

Going, going, gone

Posted by: Rob Hof on January 11

Venture capitalist Bob Kagle, an eBay board member, once confided to me that most people--even some inside eBay--still don't understand what the online marketplace is all about. Its future isn't...

Has e-tail finally arrived?

Posted by: Rob Hof on January 09

Longtime tech watcher Patty Seybold, chief executive of market researcher Patricia Seybold Group, just flagged a milestone that even boosters of online shopping missed. According to her Jan. 6 research...


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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