Open Access and Online Marketing

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It’s no secret that eBay is doing a number of interesting things with its open API’s and technology platform.

Sharing APIs is common practice for software companies, but eBay, along with its fellow online-retail pioneer, Amazon.com, is breaking new ground in its industry by establishing a large community of outside developers. And the implications of this strategy go much further than the world of auctions and electronic storefronts.

How much is eBay relying on outside developers?

“This a new wave of business,” says [another developer’s marketing director]. “eBay is a supplier, a marketing channel and a competitor. It’s a weird arrangement.”… “If you can’t split it, you can’t scale it,” says Eric Billingsley, head of eBay Research Labs. “We’ve made ourselves masters of virtualization.’ … eBay is able to publish a new version of its site every two weeks, adding 100,000 lines of code, all while in use.”

What does all of this matter for online marketing? A great deal if you consider the implications of web2.0 in a practical sense.

“This is what Web 2.0 does for business,” says Infopia CEO Bjorn Espenes. “Everyone can pick and share information in different ways that are much more automated.”

Platforms such as Linux have been relying on outside developers for over a decade, and the result is an impressive number of stable and attractive distributions which are beginning to compete with the traditional OS’s such as Windows and Mac OS.

Affiliate marketing has long been at the threshold of taking advantage of these sorts of open platforms with data feeds and arguably the very affiliate link structure of the market.

If eBay’s continued use of API’s and open platforms and reliance on outside developers and talent is any indication of future trends by software and online portals, affiliate marketing has a bright future.

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