September 12, 2005
Building a global Yellow Pages
It looks as though we'll see an eBay announcement on the purchase of Skype in a few hours. People all over the Net are wondering why eBay would want to pay a few billion dollars (at that level what does it matter whether 1,2 or 4) for a service that would seem to have nothing to do with - auctions.
But wait, I think this analysis (in the comments) is spot on. eBay is building a global Yellow Pages service. Enhanced with an architecture of participation that provides additional value and soon with a one-click "Skype-me" way of getting into voice contact with the person (or company) selling the products. For the merchants on eBay being able to accept voice-calls through the auction-platform would provide an additional access channel.
Here are a few areas of eBay that I can imagine would profit from the possibility of a voice-call:
- Asking the seller real-time questions about the product being auctioned
- Talking to people who have left their valuation of a particular buyer or seller
- Contacting a company selling on eBay to enquire about the next auction
- A voice-bot that rings you when a particular auction comes online
- ....and probably a lot more
And of course, there's the Skype service itself.
Later: It's official - and a snap at $2.6 billion.
Posted by Matthew at September 12, 2005 10:19 AM