In an effort to reward third-party developers and to woo new programmers to create applications for its E-commerce and auction site, eBay Inc. on Monday made access to eBay Web Services free. Until now, the eBay Developers Program charged a fee for API calls, a fee for membership, and a fee for certification.
"To existing developers, this is a big thank-you," says Greg Isaacs, director of the eBay Developers Program. "For new developers, it's an incentive to join." He adds, "We are extending the global reach of eBay by enabling third-party innovation."
Isaacs estimates that the potential savings for major developers might range from thousands to tens of thousands a month.
According to the company, approximately 724,000 professional merchants in the United States rely on eBay as a primary or secondary source of income. They sell about $40 billion worth of goods annually to a worldwide membership of 168 million registered users in 33 countries.
In the United States, eBay boasts 66 million registered users, putting it ahead of companies like AOL, Cingular, Comcast, and SBC.
"Today, most of us think about eBay as an auction site, but a third of the items that transact on eBay are actually fixed price," says Isaacs.
Globally, in the fourth quarter of 2004, eBay says it processed on average 4.4 million transactions per day. "We actually have more daily transactions than the NYSE and the Nasdaq," says Isaacs.
In January, according to Nielsen//NetRatings and eBay, the company processed 1.9 billion searches, almost as many as the 1.92 billion queries handled by Google Inc., which has almost twice eBay's market capitalization.
EBay Web Services supports some 2.5 billion API calls per month. Approximately 45% of all listings on eBay.com involve eBay Web Services
In the past year, the eBay Developers Program has more than doubled to reach 21,000 members. Participating developers have produced more than 1,600 applications.
According to Isaacs, the company will continue to charge $75 an hour for developer tech support.