Coming into this discussion late (thanks to Gartner ITExpo). Mashable talks about eBay’s social networking foray.
“eBay is getting ready to launch Neighborhoods,
which is a new feature that aggregates the many micro-communities that
are built around common interests. Neighborhoods should be officially
launched later this week.
The purpose is to give more users a place to connect, and further
express interest in those parts of their lives that revolve around
SF Chronicle says:
“Content for neighborhoods can be tapped from some other eBay features
including product listings, eBay blogs, guides, and reviews. At launch
time, there are 600 different neighborhoods covering everything from
Beyonce to Battlestar Gallactica.”
“Content from across eBay–including eBay blogs, guides, reviews, and
product search–is pulled into each eBay neighborhood and packaged into
widget-like modules. Members can join whatever neighborhoods they like,
and add to discussion boards there, post photos, invite friends, and
meet other people who share the same consumer obsessions.”
As does News.com“
“eBay Neighborhoods will
allow users to post photos and reviews and offer tips and feedback in a
beefed-up version of its text-based discussion forums. As of late
Tuesday, there were more than 600 groups, with topics ranging from the
Dallas Cowboys to crocheting to comic books. Users can also suggest new
neighborhoods for creation.”
I dont use eBay at all (another post). I can see how this can be of very good value: to enable people that collect or are interested in things “like you” to meet and talk about their passion.
I think you’ll find this like most other “social network on the side” as in “you want fries with that” initiatives. I think there might be opportunity for eBay to collectively gain more by letting like-minded folks connect with one another on their network, but as an experiment this is a good start.
“Evil marketing” in me thinks – the key value for eBay will be:
1. Collecting the “universe” target market of people, so they can know their target audience in cases of promotions. I think it would be VERY cool to see if everyone collecting Beyonce CD’s can be given first opportunity to buy tickets to her concert with StubHub.
2. Cross-selling opportunity. I can sure you can get information at some point that would be very valuable about “everyone that is in Atlanta that buys Beyonce CD’s also is now starting to bid on Oasis music”.
3. Adding value to the community: How about putting together regional events so community members can meet face to face? – That’s going to be something the community will love.