Published in Cynopsis:Weekender, 10/18/07
By Jordan Yanco
This week marks the launch of eBay’s Neighborhoods, a social networking environment designed to match buyers and sellers with similar interests and create a greater sense of community. With all the attention paid to social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, why shouldn’t the world’s largest online marketplace throw their hat into the ring?
The idea is simple. Let’s say you love Spider Man comic books. There is already a Spider Man neighborhood on eBay, along with over 600 others. New ones are being suggested and created as we speak. “Hey, does anyone have Amazing Spider Man issue #294 part 5 where Kraven kills Spider Man?” By joining the Spider Man Neighborhood, you can communicate with other Spidey fans, automatically receive and vote on snapshots of related listings, as well as browse reviews, guides, and blogs from other Neighbors.
Each member of the Neighborhood will also have the opportunity to display their profile, and who knows? Maybe two star-crossed Voltron lovers can fall in love thanks to Neighborhoods. After all, they would share common interests.
With eBay Neighborhoods, sellers reach their target audience, and buyers can browse things they never even knew they wanted. This new release conveniently arrived in conjunction with eBay’s new streamlined checkout and one-click bidding.
Now let’s hear from the cynics, shall we? Hopefully eBay will monitor this new rollout so that it doesn’t become cluttered with posting-happy users who love to see their handle in print. CatLady317, as cute as you might think your cat Whiskers may be, chances are the other cat lovers won’t care, unless Whiskers is up for auction. Then there will inevitably be the show-offs who feel the need to display their Honus Wagner original baseball cards and depress the rest of us.
Ebay had also better screen the Neighborhood suggestions carefully, because though there may be a considerable section of the population sharing the same common interest, that interest might be offensive, illegal, or downright harmful.
We’ll see how Neighborhoods develops over the next few months, but the idea has already brought people to eBay, which translates into more revenue.
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