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Q1. Do you agree with Google and Microsoft that eBay is now vulnerable to their
assaults via Google Base and Windows Live Expo? Why or why not?

World is becoming smaller and smaller day by day with the advancement of
information technology. E-commerce emerges as a new type of world economy called virtual
economy which is not restricted to nations. In simple term, e-Commerce includes buying and
selling of products and services over the internet. E-commerce bridges the gap between buyer
and seller making the world of web as an open market. There are three categories of e-
commerce which includes, Business to Consumer, Business to Business and Consumer to
Consumer. Web is accessible from every part of the world which increases buyers and sellers
reach ability. Companies like eBay enjoyed virtual monopoly by commanding 90 percent of
online auction market from 1999 to 2004. The future is for e-commerce that’s why
companies like Microsoft and Google started giving competition to eBay by their products
Windows Live Expo and Google Base. However, these companies aim is to build their
dominance over online classifieds instead of auction business. Many analysts thinks that the
online classifieds going to define future of e-commerce which is somehow true. In 1999, the
online classified market was $300 million which grows to $2.1 billion in 2002 and going
increasing very rapidly, online classified now estimated to be close to 10 % in overall
classified market (The Growing online classified market). EBay enjoyed its monopoly over e-
commerce and now it’s facing major challenges by its competitors Microsoft and Google.

Vulnerability to eBay by Microsoft Live Expo

Microsoft launched its listing service, Windows Live Expo in February 2006, as
another addition to its Windows Live family. It enables users to post classifieds for free, limit
access by buddy lists, and focus listings geographically. It helps buyers and sellers to find
each other easily with the help of MSN’s Virtual Earth Mapping service. It also helps people
to search by setting their own parameters for goods and services this makes it apart from
other online classified services. The products and service in Windows Live Expo are
geographically identified or geo-tagged by zip code which defines where the product is
located. This helps Windows Live Expo customers to search for item within a radius as small
as 25 miles or large as entire United States. MSN’s satellite image helps customer to view
maps and aerial imagery to search route and locations.

Vulnerability to eBay by Google Base

Google introduced Google Base in mid-November 2005, which is a online classified


service same like Craiglist. This free service allows users to post everything from recipes to
used cars and job listings, local merchant and traders can upload inventory listing in massive
searchable database of Google. Users can submit offline and online content which become
searchable on Google as soon as they upload. Attributes are described by users for their
products which helps prospective buyers to find product when they do related searches.
Google main strategy is to provide quality of results by accuracy which reduces the amount
of time required to search items.

Is eBay vulnerable to assaults?


- Microsoft Live Expo

Microsoft Live Expo which was described by Microsoft as an “online social


marketplace”, after nearly two years of launch the website operations got ceased on 31, July,

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2008 (Kniskern, 2008). It was really hard for Microsoft to beat Craiglist where eBay own 25
percent stake. Live Expo comes with windows live services with free listings and allows
users to create own search attributes for their products. Microsoft requires change in its
competitive strategy into innovative strategy in order to get success in e-commerce market.
Microsoft was late to launch Live Expo without enough promotions which cause the downfall
of Live Expo.

- Via Google Base

eBay somehow vulnerable to assaults via Google base, because users can upload all
types of online and offline content on Google base for free which becomes searchable on
Google. However, eBay profits are mainly from big sellers and eBay owns PayPal, which is
most successful and secured online payment system. Half of the new buyers and sellers of
United States are connected through eBay by its paid listing service; if Google started putting
its own results first then eBay may lose its buyers.

Conclusion

It’s really hard to judge which company is going win this battle of e-commerce
supremacy, however, according to current scenario, eBay still dominates over its competitors.
eBay has its own advantages like easy search, allows users to save search, add photos for
better descriptions, feedbacks, easy to setup auction with choice of secure online payment
systems. Microsoft Live Expo is out of the scene as it was discontinued in July, 2008. Google
base is a strong challenge for eBay; hence, eBay is going for acquisitions in order to
safeguard its position in current e-commerce battle.

Q2. What are the major advantages and limitations of Google Base and Windows Live
Expo? Which do you prefer or would you use both? Why? Go to their Internet websites
and read reviews at other sites to help you answer.

Advantages of Google Base:

Google base is online searchable database where users can upload anything and
everything for free, from recipes, jobs, cars and real estate. Users any upload any type of
content such as images, text and information in format PDF, XML, Excel, RTF or
WordPerfect. Google base increases item reachability by showing item in other Google
properties like Google or Google Maps. Main advantage of Google base is that, it’s free as
compare to paid listing of eBay. Google Checkout is secure payment system which identifies
and filters transactions under Chargeback Resolution Policy (Why google checkout?, 2008).
Google base is different from other listing services because it enables users to add attributes
which describes content, so that people can easily find it. These user defined attributes
enriches product information. Popular individual attribute become, more often Google will
suggest them when other posts same item. More popular items will seen as suggested item
types in Choose an existing item type drop-down menu (About Google Base, 2010). Google
Base also includes feature which allows users to move items from eBay store to Google Base
store known as Store connector. If any user found problem in dealing with eBay, he/she can
swap easily with their items to Google Base store with the help of Store Connector.

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Limitations of Google Base:

Although Google base is user friendly neat application but it lacks in interface which
needs to be designed little better for the adding of items and details (Benzinger, 2005). Some
users find Google Base crap because it’s full of spam links; get rich quick schemes and credit
card offers which are very risky. Google Base is free to use that’s why spammers post spam.
Although, Google placed a “Report Bad Item” button next to entries in Base but in order to
make application more relevant, reliable and benefit to loyal customers, Google need to clean
its application by removing these spam links etc (Cashmore, 2005). There is not system in
Google Base where buyers and sellers can evaluate each other like eBay which have this
feature which facilitates risk free purchasing.

Advantages of Microsoft Live Expo:

Microsoft live Expo is a free listing service which allows users to sell, map listings
and search buyers. It allows listing of wide range which varies from music, images to real
estate. Windows Live Local services are integrated with Live Expo which provides map and
services and give directions to sale locations. Geo tagging is innovative feature by Microsoft
in Live Expo which helps users to geo tag the advertisement. In Live Expo, users can restrict
advertisements to contacts in messenger or by classifying groups. Best feature of Live expo is
that, user’s can narrow down the search to 25 miles in radius. The presence of MSN in 42
markets in 21 languages and monthly traffic of more than 440 million users; helps advertising
opportunities to its Live Expo users worldwide (Windows Live Expo - Microsoft's Answer to
e-Bay, 2006). Microsoft Live Expo easily integrated with other Microsoft family products
and easy to setup. To protect user’s privacy, Microsoft Live Expo includes feature, the
Microsoft Live Expo-only inbox where all messages regarding user’s listings are sent directly
to or from the user’s anonymous Live Expo message inbox. This helps users to hide personal
email addresses and reduces risk of phishing attack or spam to reach user’s inbox (Raiciu,
2006).

Limitations of Microsoft Live Expo:

Microsoft Live Expo service does not support data feeds and bulk uploads like
Google Base. Bad marketing strategy led to the downfall of Window Live Expo. Most of the
people don’t know whether Windows Live Expo exists, the main reason was; Microsoft never
put its power of marketing and promotion behind it which led to the downfall of Microsoft
Live Expo. Microsoft integrated Windows Live Expo with many of its services which creates
hassled for many users. It was in beta version which faces many issues of integration, like if
we are creating space, while adding listing on Windows Live Expo then we need to edit the
same to show or visible in Expo. Its rich text editing creates problem when someone uses it
with Firefox.

Conclusion

If prefer to use Windows Live Expo and Google Base both, Windows Live Expo
because most of the people in the world uses operating system and other software of
Microsoft like Microsoft Office and Windows Vista. Expo integration with Microsoft
software family products helps users to use website more efficiently. As its lacks in bulk
upload and data feeds, then I prefer to use Google Base as it’s accept both with large database

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of customer all round the world. Google has its own secure payment system Checkout with
Chargeback Resolution Policy increases trust among buyers and sellers. Google Base
integrated with Google Maps which helps me to finds direction plus navigates me to reach
prospective buyer or seller. Google Base includes features called Store Connector which
helps sellers to move their item from eBay store to Google Base store.

Q3. Are eBay’s development of Kijiji, acquisition of Skype, alliance with Yahoo, and other
acquisitions as noted in this case enough to ward off the competitive assaults of Google
and Microsoft? Defend your position.

eBay isn’t sitting blind in this shift in e-commerce, that’s why eBay developed Kijiji,
acquired Skype and other acquisitions, to defeat competitors Google and Microsoft. eBay has
its own brand image and large loyal customer database which helps in defeating or
safeguarding himself again competitors.

eBay alliance with Kijiji

Kijiji means “Village” in Swahili language. It defines as an online village, connecting


neighbours among each other to supply good and services from cars, pets, sofa to baby sitter
or tennis partner. Kijiji is environmental way to recycle things which no longer use between
people who leave near each other and people can touch or see things before buying
(ebayclassifiedsgroup, 2010). Kijiji is a small medium company for online listing business
which focuses on small area or neighbourhood. eBay developed Kijiji, acquired Gumtree and
LoQUo to step himself in online classified market which going to be the future of e-
commerce. The main motive to Kijiji development is to give competition to Craiglist where
eBay owns 25 percent of stake. Craiglist helps buyers and sellers to deal locally without
shipping hassales, and handling fees. Buyers and sellers can interact face to face seeing and
seeing the items rather than bidding on digital photos (Duncan, 2010). With the help of Kijiji,
eBay want to create the same environment in online classified business.

eBay acquisition of Skype

eBay acquired Luxembourg based Skype Technologies SA, the global internet
communication company for $2.6 billion in upfront cash and eBay stock. eBay acquisition of
Skype and PayPal is to create an un-paralleled e-commerce and communication for buyers
and sellers around the world. Apart from payment and shipping, communication between
buyers and sellers is also required and with the help of Skype, eBay wants to bridges this gap
by providing strong internet telephony voice communication medium between buyer and
seller which indirectly helps buyer, sellers and eBay in accelerating trade. Buyers will get
easy way to talk to seller and sellers can access buyer needs, hence builds strong relationship
between buyer and seller. Skype own 54 million customer bases in 225 countries and was
adding 150,000 users everyday which helps eBay in getting strong customer base.
Sometimes, shopping of expensive items like cars, travel and expensive collectibles requires
communication which eBay hopes will get sorted by Skype. After doing successful business
in US and European countries, eBay wants to expand its business in Asian markets. eBay
failed to take control in Asian markets (India, Japan, China) because of many reasons. The

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biggest reason was cultural differences and eBay was an outsider for Asian countries. Other
reason was before eBay lack with IM system which is now fulfilled by acquisition of Skype.
Alliance with Yahoo

In mid-2006 eBay struck back with alliance with Yahoo in which, Yahoo will sell ads
for eBay sites and promotes eBay’s PayPal payment service to its customer to make payment
of Yahoo services using PayPal. According to eBay North America President Bill Cobb,

“The sales, implementation, and management of ad space on the Internet is a highly


specialized function, and Yahoo! is a leader in this area. While eBay serves up many
graphical ads on the site today, quite frankly, our own advertising infrastructure is
not as robust as it could be. Instead of investing in more infrastructures for eBay,
we’re pleased to be partnering with Yahoo! who can provide this service as a benefit
to our buyers and sellers”.

This is some kind of cost cutting strategy of eBay by alliance with Yahoo because
they don’t want to invest in the area where Yahoo is already superior. eBay is working with
Yahoo on improving its keyword ad program because they realised that seller wanted better
support and service then eBay current keyword program. eBay and Yahoo is also testing new
text ad placement which is found on some eBay pages (Yahoo Ads Appearing in eBay Search
Results, 2006). Yahoo weblinks, homepage, My Yahoo and Yahoo mail will be integrated
into eBay toolbar as a co-branded version of toolbar. Four million users already downloaded
eBay toolbar and with the help of this co-branded version of toolbar, users can access
services of both companies. Yahoo and eBay working for “Click-to-Call” service in which
users can contact buyer or seller directly by clicking on “Click-to-Call” feature via Yahoo
messenger or Skype (Baker, 2006). eBay tries to helps its customers by providing robust
communication services between two parties.

Conclusion:

eBay is a big brand and name in e-commerce market, Microsoft Live Expo and
Google Base still need time to get popular. Microsoft Live Expo was already closed due to
poor marketing and promotional strategy by Microsoft, Google Base might give competition
to eBay but according to current market conditions it’s too early to take decisions. Google
Base has one plus point because of its popular Google search engine, if Google started
showing its Google Base result first, eBay may get affect. However, diverting traffic is not
only solution; Google Base is developing but it still need more time to get mature in handling
frauds. Google can’t beat eBay so easily as eBay own huge network of buyers and sellers,
people want to use eBay to sell their products because they know that they will find buyers
on eBay or vice versa. eBay is Google one of the largest advertiser and hence if Google try to
replace eBay ads with Base then it would indirectly costs to Google. If Google want to beat
eBay with its product Base then it need to promote it product, its almost 5 year passed and
people hardly knows about Google Base (Dahm, 2006). Many new entrants in online
classified such as “providemeservice.com”, “ClassifiedAds.com” and “Facebook-
Marketplace” recently launched. Facebook Marketplace is a going stand as a strong
competitor for eBay and Google Base because Facebook is a social networking website
whose user’s database consists of more than 500 million users, users can use Marketplace for
lists their product and services for free. Hence, eBay still enjoying its monopoly over current
e-commerce market but in future, no one knows who will be the king of e-commerce.

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References:

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http://base.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=59260&hl=en

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ebay-form-alliance-paypal-search-marketing-more/3471/

Benzinger, B. (2005, November 16). Google Base is now Live.[ Accessed on 7/12/2010] from
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Dahm, T. (2006). Google Insider : Google Base Takes on the world. [Accessed on 8/12/2010] from
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Duncan, G. (2010, 3 30). eBay Ditching Kijiji in Favor of eBay Classifieds. [Accessed on 8/12/2010]
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of-ebay-classifieds/

ebayclassifiedsgroup. (2010). [Accessed on 7/12/2010] from www.ebayclassifiedsgroup.com:


http://www.ebayclassifiedsgroup.com/kijiji

Kniskern, K. (2008, June 4). Windows Live Expo joins the Windows Live deadpool.[Accessed on
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the-windows-live-deadpool/

O'Brian, J. A., & Marakas, G. M. (2009). Electronic Commerce Systems. In Introduction To Information
Systems- Fourteenth Edition (pp. 287-300). NewYork: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.

Raiciu, T. (2006, 3 1). Windows Live Expo, Microsoft's Response to Google Base, Available to All
Users. [Accessed on 7/12/2010] from www.news.softpedia.com:
http://news.softpedia.com/news/Windows-Live-Expo-Microsoft-s-Response-to-Google-Base-
Available-to-All-Users-18950.shtml

The Growing online classified market. (n.d.). [Accessed on 6/12/2010] from www.e-classified.net:
http://www.e-classifieds.net/products/market.html

Why google checkout? (2008). [Accessed on 7/12/2010] from www.checkout.google.com:


http://checkout.google.com/seller/what.html?hl=en&gl=GB

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