EBay builds new division to woo developers
EBay Inc. is building a new division to woo developers and attract more merchants as the company tries to emulate the success of Apple Inc.’s iOS platform in the e-commerce world.
EBay’s main business is still its giant online marketplaces, which bring shoppers and sellers together. The company’s other big division is the payment business PayPal, and it acquired GSI Commerce this year to add a third division.
But a fourth business has emerged in recent months called X.commerce. The website for the division, X.com, revives a name from the early days of PayPal, when it merged a competing online payments business called X.com started by Elon Musk.
X.commerce is trying to persuade outside developers to create applications, or apps, for merchants looking to sell more online.
The apps can be designed to work on EBay’s marketplaces. They may also include payment capabilities from PayPal and work with websites built on Magento, an open-source e-commerce company that EBay bought in June.
The more useful apps that developers build through X.commerce, the more likely merchants are to use EBay’s marketplaces, PayPal’s payment technology or GSI’s e-commerce services.
“The idea is to indirectly monetize EBay’s main assets PayPal, GSI and Marketplaces,” said Matthew Mengerink, the EBay veteran who runs the new division. “X.commerce is in a unique position. I don’t have to drive revenue, I have to drive traffic.”
EBay has about 725,000 developers registered with its various developer programs, and there are roughly 4,600 Magento apps active on X.com, up from 3,800 at the start of the year, according to Mengerink.