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Students Embarrass eBay With Firefox Add-On 269

Posted by kdawson
from the doing-it-right dept.
An anonymous reader sends along a posting from the Grooveking blog on a group of Stanford students who got together to help promote Firefox and ended up releasing a long overdue eBay Toolbar for Firefox before Mozilla and eBay could release their jointly developed extension in Europe. Mozilla's COO said the preemptive release of the eBay Toolbar had ruffled some feathers among European eBay execs. "Besides basic search features, it removes external ads on the site and allows users to see thumbnail pictures on ALL search items, even those sellers didn't pay for. An eBay toolbar has been long overdue... eBay can't be too enthusiastic about this toolbar since it cuts directly into its main sources of revenue: ads and thumbnail fees. But eBay users get a really good deal."
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Students Embarrass eBay With Firefox Add-On

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  • by Southpaw018 (793465) * on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @02:34PM (#19135327) Journal
    Certainly reinforces the Spread Firefox group's original slogan: Take Back the Web.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @02:47PM (#19135543)
      ... until Ebay forces viewers to view the ads or the page won't load properly (as do some sites). Here's hoping that doesn't happen..
      • by cdrudge (68377) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @03:11PM (#19135919) Homepage
        I have plenty of bandwidth. I just don't want to see the ads. Maybe Firefox can load them and display them on my /dev/null monitor.
    • Sure, Firefox can take back the Web.

      But only Internet Explorer can hold back the Web.
    • by StarvingSE (875139) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @08:17PM (#19139877)
      eBay can't be too enthusiastic about this toolbar since it cuts directly into its main sources of revenue: ads and thumbnail fees.

      I'm sorry but TFS is just wrong. Paypal is their main source of revenue. Believe me, double dipping by charging both sellers and buyers a fee to use the service is very lucrative.
  • Nice. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by silentsentinel (1067234) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @02:34PM (#19135347)
    Suck it, Ebay. Stop trying to hamstring your sellers. Your costs were exponentially lower when you were born, making more money doesn't entitle you to start charging more money for no real reason.
    • Re:Nice. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by r_jensen11 (598210) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @03:00PM (#19135729)

      making more money doesn't entitle you to start charging more money for no real reason.

      No, but throughout the majority of the world (even China is adopting it), supply and demand does. If the demand for ebay's services increases, why shouldn't they be able to match demand with an increase in price?

      • Re:Nice. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ChaosDiscord (4913) * on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @04:22PM (#19137169) Homepage Journal

        No, but throughout the majority of the world (even China is adopting it), supply and demand does. If the demand for ebay's services increases, why shouldn't they be able to match demand with an increase in price?

        Excepting of course that the free market is a harsh mistress and in an idealized environment does not tolerate large profit margins. If there are large profit margins it means that a competitor should start up with lower profits. Absent such natural checks and balances capitalism would be a disaster for most people. Unfortunately frequently the checks and balances aren't actually present. The free market isn't ideal: Consumers aren't entirely rational, information is frequently withheld, participants commit fraud, governments meddle, and sometimes natural monopolies form. When the market is distorted in such a way, one can no longer reasonably hold that the prices are necessarily reasonable and should be accepted without question.

        eBay might be such an example. Thanks to the network effect, eBay is enjoying a very natural monopoly. If a seller jumps to another service, they look 90% or more of their potential buyers, dramatically reducing effective demand for their product and lowering their own profits. As a result the sellers generally don't leave. Given so few sellers, buyers have little incentive to jump services, creating a feedback loop.

        Given this overwhelming cost to jumping services, there is no realistic competition. Absent competition, eBay can afford to jack prices and generate large profit margins with no real risk.

        I don't know if eBay really is gouging, if regulation (the typical solution) is needed, and if so what sort of regulation we should enact, but it is definitely within the realm of possibility. You can't simply wave around supply-and-demand like it's a magical wand that magically makes everything good.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by cgenman (325138)
        No, but throughout the majority of the world (even China is adopting it), supply and demand does. If the demand for ebay's services increases, why shouldn't they be able to match demand with an increase in price?

        Why, then, should ebay be able to require that people see their advertisements?

        eBay has been very close to violating certain unspoken social contracts, mostly around their listing cuts and near-monopoly status. And if they start treating their users badly but in a legal way, why shouldn't their use
    • Re:Nice. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Red Flayer (890720) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @03:09PM (#19135883) Journal

      Your costs were exponentially lower when you were born, making more money doesn't entitle you to start charging more money for no real reason.
      You're absolutely right, eBay having higher profits doesn't entitle them to charge more for no reason.

      Being a business allows them to charge more for no reason. Don't like it? Don't use them.

      I don't know why people feel that companies have to justify price increases with some rationale of higher costs for them. Companies do that to make purchasers feel better, but the truth of the matter is that companies (regulated industries aside) can charge whatever the hell they feel like for what they provide. EBay is not in business to make $x profit per transaction; they are in business to maximize $x.
      • Re:Nice. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @03:21PM (#19136107) Homepage

        They're allowed to charge whatever they feel like in much the same way that I'm allowed to be a total asshole. Yeah, it's allowed in a free society, but that doesn't make it good or smart.

        Trying to maximize profits at the detriment of your own customers is common practice, and that's largely why so many things are completely screwed up. The world would be better if people were willing to settle for an honest buck, a modest profit, instead of screwing over everyone as far as they're allowed with no consideration for the ramifications.

        • Trying to maximize profits at the detriment of your own customers is common practice, and that's largely why so many things are completely screwed up. The world would be better if people were willing to settle for an honest buck, a modest profit, instead of screwing over everyone as far as they're allowed with no consideration for the ramifications.

          Well, that's a debate about capitalism. Some would argue that your system is inefficient, and would therefore not make best use of resources, and would therefor

          • Re:Nice. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @03:59PM (#19136743) Homepage

            Well, that's a debate about capitalism. Some would argue that your system is inefficient, and would therefore not make best use of resources, and would therefore result in less for everyone.

            That's not the debate about capitalism-- my "system" isn't a system. Capitalism is a system of economic freedom, but "economic freedom" does not require that you adopt ruthless unethical business practices any more than personal freedom requires people to be assholes. It gives you the freedom to do so, but that freedom is not a moral imperative to act viciously.

          • Actually there is an interesting nugget in there.

            Business charge prices for profit and to discourage behavior.

            Given very cheap prices, ebay could run into the tragedy of the commons where their bandwidth is overwhelmed in some unplanned, unintended way.

            At the heart of it tho- all businesses take something that was a good deal, and then they turn the profit screws until it actually becomes unpleasant to deal with them because of ads, prices, etc. It's called "yield management" and it amounts to firing or r
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Gospodin (547743)

            I think the problem is that it's impossible to quantify certain ramifications, like customer goodwill, so they are undervalued when large companies do pricing studies.

            If it's truly impossible to quantify them, then how do you know they're undervalued? Maybe they're overvalued. Maybe they're valued exactly correctly. Maybe they're never valued exactly correctly, but on average they're about right (this is what I suspect is closest to the truth).

            Seriously, with a small or even medium-sized business there

      • you forgot something (Score:3, Interesting)

        by nanosquid (1074949)
        That should be: "Don't like it? Don't use them, tell others not to use them, and explain why you don't like them."

        I don't know why people feel that companies have to justify price increases with some rationale of higher costs for them.

        Because price and cost carries information about a company. If a company charges substantially more than cost, you know that you can probably find a better deal elsewhere. If you can't, then there may be a monopoly involved.
    • by WED Fan (911325)

      making more money doesn't entitle you to start charging more money for no real reason.

      First, God bless capitalism!

      Second, dude, it's market driven. There are alternatives. If eBay can get away with charging those prices, and still continue to grow, more power to them. That is what business is all about.

      Third, God bless capitalism!

      Oh, and before I forget...

      Forth, the world's biggest horses ass is dead, let's hoist one to God for finally killing Jerry Falwell. Yay, God. Now, God, what can you do about Pa

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Hello lawsuit.
  • Embarrass? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @02:37PM (#19135385)
    Why is this such a big deal? It's a lot easier for a bunch of student programmers like this to release a toolbar than it is for eBay.

    The problem isn't making the plugin. That's relatively easy. I guarentee is doesn't take eBay very long to make a toolbar for their own site, assuming they have programmers that are a least a bit competent.

    No, the problem is testing. If an offical toolbar from eBay causes even the smallest problem, eBay is on the hook. For a bunch of students this isn't a problem.
    • by Bearpaw (13080) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @02:46PM (#19135531)
      Or was the problem trying to figure out a way to implement it that increased ad revenues?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I have an idea: Slap "Beta" on it and let the users test it. I should probably patent that.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Or just follow the MS model and call it 1.0 and release it as-is.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          Or follow the Apple model and call it 1.0, release it as-is, and let your fans berate people for complaining. "Always first generation...", "wait for the next one, they'll get it right", "you have to expect this".
    • Re:Embarrass? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Kasis (918962) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @02:47PM (#19135557)
      Sounded great to me, I use eBay a lot. I installed it, found that it's completely US-centric with no option to localise. In addition all the extras such as Amazon search and Froogle search are all focused on the US.

      I uninstalled and will begin looking for something similar which supports users outside the US.

      On a side note, has it really taken this long for somebody to realise that an eBay toolbar might be a good idea??
      • by ohearn (969704)
        "On a side note, has it really taken this long for somebody to realise that an eBay toolbar might be a good idea??"

        No, it probably just took this long for someone to find a way to do it without some small slip up that they could have been sued to death over because of the US's position on IP laws.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I can't see why people want a search toolbar for every site they visit. I just set up a custom search that works in the main address bar. g <search term> searches google, w <search term> search wikipedia, imdb <search term> searchs imbd. Saves a lot of screen space just having the one bar to type into.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by tghw (911860)
        Apologies, we're currently working on a version that works for all eBay domains. If it's not already there, please add your country to the list [myfriendlyfox.com].
  • So, how many people (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rogerborg (306625) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @02:42PM (#19135457) Homepage

    Just installed it and started typing in their personal information, with absolutely no idea what this plugin was doing with it?

    Uh huh. Oh, now you're thinking through the security implications.

    It's probably not a particularly clever piece of phishing, but the next one might be.

    • by roman_mir (125474)
      Well, as long as it doesn't package any binaries in it and doesn't use XPCOM to load them, it's fairely straightforward to open up the XPI (which is a ZIP anyway,) and look at the JS, XUL and RDF content. If there are binaries, then it'll just take a bit more time.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by winnabago (949419)
        Well, as long as it doesn't package any binaries in it and doesn't use XPCOM to load them, it's fairely straightforward to open up the XPI (which is a ZIP anyway,) and look at the JS, XUL and RDF content. If there are binaries, then it'll just take a bit more time.

        Great, I'll just tell grandma to follow this simple procedure to make sure the emails she's getting arent phishing attempts. She's going to be so happy now that she can install toolbars. Just open the XPI, make sure you're not using XPCOM, a
        • by roman_mir (125474)
          I am not talking to any grandmothers here I think. You have conveniently forgotten the case of Sony spyware [wikipedia.org] distributed on their CDs. I don't know, it COULD have been a grandmother with enough tech skills, who figured that one out. You are not being fare to grandmothers.
      • by dedazo (737510)

        If there are binaries, then it'll just take a bit more time.

        Yeah, I felt the same way about ActiveX binaries. But just a little bit more time than verifying that it doesn't use XPCOM and look in the XPI (which everyone knows is a ZIP anyway) and look at the JS, ZUL and RDF. Yeah.

        Got any more recommendations I might want to pass on to aunt Tilly and cousin Joe Bob when they ask me about Firefox?

        • by roman_mir (125474)
          Certainly, they should follow the news where those who care [eff.org] talk about such issues and others do analysis [sysinternals.com] for such things.

          How can your aunt Tilly and cousin Joe Bob trust ANY software at all? They probably didn't build it.
          • by dedazo (737510)
            So if we follow that logic then if everyone exercised common sense and kept abreast of security threats then ActiveX wouldn't be such a big problem, would it?

            Furthermore, we can say that that XPI has not become such a problem (since you're vulnerable through it as well) simply because it hasn't reached a large enough segment of the PC user base. Correct?

            • by roman_mir (125474)
              Nope. If you don't want to do the testing yourself, and you still want to use XPIs safely then get them from here. [mozilla.org] There the extensions are tested for security and other flaws before they are released to the public. Of-course you still have to trust mozilla people not to screw you over. In any case how can you ever trust any code that you didn't write yourself? You can't. You can't even trust code that you wrote yourself but compiled with someone else's compiler. You have to write your own compiler, c
    • by SEE (7681)
      As Ken Thompson put it, in Reflections on Trusting Trust [acm.org]

      The moral is obvious. You can't trust code that you did not totally create yourself. (Especially code from companies that employ people like me.) No amount of source-level verification or scrutiny will protect you from using untrusted code. In demonstrating the possibility of this kind of attack, I picked on the C compiler. I could have picked on any program-handling program such as an assembler, a loader, or even hardware microcode.

      As far as assuming

  • by InfiniteSingularity (1095799) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @02:43PM (#19135467)

    "eBay can't be too enthusiastic about this toolbar since it cuts directly into its main sources of revenue: ads and thumbnail fees."

    That is why Ebay have not finished their own toolbar yet. They were too busy trying to figure out how to code the bar without messing up their revenue streams. Had they have just made the bar functional and user friendly, they might have already finished it. Fortunately for everyone else, the Stanford group was only concerned about a functional, working toolbar.

    • by malsdavis (542216)
      I think you've uncovered one of the primary causes of software delays and usability stoppers of today.

      The "free" market isn't completely faultless.
  • by BoRegardless (721219) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @02:44PM (#19135481)
    It was trying to figure out how to load up more ads...?
  • by should_be_linear (779431) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @02:44PM (#19135483)
    ... but it should be mentioned that they could create it that fast only thanks to breaking 173 Microsoft patents.
    • by Eudial (590661)

      ... but it should be mentioned that they could create it that fast only thanks to breaking 173 Microsoft patents.


      Be careful, rumor has it Microsoft has patented revealing how many Microsoft-patents something violates.
  • by Icarus1919 (802533) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @02:44PM (#19135493)
    ...of a couple of spunky Stanford kids with nothing going for them. And a coach, who believed they had it in them all along...
  • DMCA notice (Score:4, Funny)

    by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @02:44PM (#19135501) Homepage Journal
    in 3.. 2..
  • by Control Group (105494) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @02:50PM (#19135579) Homepage
    I am Jack's complete lack of surprise.

    A couple guys who want to do something they think is cool turned out to be faster at it than a couple corporations trying to do something to monetize what they perceive as something users want.

    Let me put on my surprised face.
  • eBay can't be too enthusiastic about this toolbar since it cuts directly into its main sources of revenue: ads and thumbnail fees.


    True, very true, but if the exec's hadn't been sitting around with their "thumbs up thier as^H^HeBays"
    and released *something*, then they would not have had thier thunder^Wbirds stolen.

    (ok, ok, put the pointy stick down, I'll stop!)
  • Quote source? (Score:2, Informative)

    by vain gloria (831093)

    Mozilla's COO said the preemptive release of the eBay Toolbar had ruffled some feathers among European eBay execs.
    Where does the quote in the summary come from? It's not in any of TFAs.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Where does the quote in the summary come from? It's not in any of TFAs.

      It's not a quote. It's an anecdote. Do you see it in quotation marks? But it would be nice to know where it came from. Probably the submitter just forgot to insert a link.

  • "Ignore" sellers? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Spazmania (174582) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @02:59PM (#19135715) Homepage
    Does it let me "ignore" sellers by name, feedback ratio and feedback quantity so I never see their listings? If it does, I'll download it right now. There are half a dozen or so "power sellers" who flood the search terms I regularly look for with auctions I wouldn't bid on in a million years. And then there are all the 98.2% positive feedback guys who I wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole (99% is my normal cutoff) and all the obviously re-registered accounts that are too slick to legitimately have only 8 feedbacks.

    I'd very much like an "ignore" option.
    • Re:"Ignore" sellers? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by oo (94735) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @03:12PM (#19135933)
      98.2% positive feedback? What's wrong with that? You do realize that that's less than 4 negatives for 200 transactions? It's so easy to end up with retaliatory negatives from sellers when you use your account for both buying and selling.

      Don't be a chickenshit. And for fuck's sake don't leave negative retaliatory feedback when I give you a neutral. The ebay feedback system is so broken that people like you think a single negative and fifty positives is a complete disaster. It definitely needs more granularity.
      • by AK Marc (707885) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @04:05PM (#19136877)
        It's so easy to end up with retaliatory negatives from sellers when you use your account for both buying and selling.

        And I give good feedback when the transaction sucked and I'm a buyer because no seller leaves feedback until the buyer does. It's blackmail. I paid you within 30 seconds of the close of the auction. You should give me feedback then, the transaction is done, as far as you are concerned. But no, I don't get any feedback until I've left feedback. If the damn thing takes 6 weeks to get here, I have the choice of telling the world that the transaction sucked (and I get negative retaliatory feedback when I've done nothing wrong), or I give good feedback or no feedback to protect my own feedback ratio.

        eBay purposefully slants such things toward the seller, because those are the people that pay the fees. eBay could come up with all sorts of ways to prevent retaliation. If I'm a buyer, I've paid (verified by my paypal account that eBay saw the payment flow through) then the seller can't give me negative/neutral feedback once I give feedback. If I did something wrong, they'll know it long before the item arrives at my house. To accept my payment and wait to see what I leave for feedback before leaving their own is blackmail and makes the feedback system mostly useless.
        • Re:"Ignore" sellers? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Sparr0 (451780) <sparr0@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @04:16PM (#19137069) Homepage Journal
          The new feedback system that just went into testing should help eliminate this. The problem is that the transaction is NOT finished when you pay. You could still dispute the credit card charge, or return the package, or file a complaint with the USPS, or any of a hundred other things. The new system *IS* more discrete and categorized, which hopefully means they will let us leave feedback in stages.

          Also, I am in favor of not showing either party the feedback that the other user left until they have both left it. That would almost completely eliminate retaliatory feedback.

          PS: I am a seller, and I actually do leave positive feedback as soon as the (proper) payment arrives.
          • by Xtravar (725372)
            Someone could have multiple accounts and check the feedback the other user left... Or even have a buddy do it?
            The obvious thing to do would be to never leave feedback then if you didn't want negative feedback to affect you.
            Perhaps they should require the "feedback transaction" to complete before the seller puts up any more items, or something similar.
        • by Fastball (91927) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @07:40PM (#19139615) Journal
          I'll counter your argument from a seller's perspective (I've bought and sold on eBay). I have sold items before where I have left positive feedback immediately after payment was received. Shipped said items well-packed day after payment was received. Still, I was left negative feedback for perceived false advertisement of an item. One other occasion, I refunded a ~$150 payment after a used video card I shipped (was working when it shipped out) was returned defective. Did I get positive feedback? No, I was given a blistering feedback that really shook my belief in the eBay experience. Patience, open communication, and reason are important when buying and selling on eBay, but some folks bring a lot of angst. By and large my experience on eBay has been very positive, especially with reputable sellers who have good feedback (99%+). But I pucker anytime I sell something, because you never know who you're going to have to deal with. My feedback stands at 98.9%, and I have to work harder because of that sub-99% blemish (ship same day payment was received, overpack for protection, answer questions within an hour of receiving them, etc.).

          Here's hoping the new feedback system helps everybody.
      • by Spazmania (174582)
        98.2% positive feedback? What's wrong with that?

        If you communicate well, pack well, ship promptly and take responsibility when the item doesn't arrive or arrives damaged, its pretty easy to stay over 99%. Screw up one of those areas and you'll rapidly drop below it.

        eBay isn't Best Buy. I expect better service from the eBay sellers I deal with than I get at Best Buy. By setting my cutoff at 99%, I get that service.

        And anyway, what's your problem? If you're a ninety-eight percenter, I won't buy from you wheth
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Does it let me "ignore" sellers by name, feedback ratio and feedback quantity
      I don't know about feedback ratio/quantity, but you can filter out a seller by name just by adding "-SpammySeller" to your eBay search terms, although I think you have to select "search title and description" which might force you to start adding tons of other filters to get down to a decent result set size.
  • Inevitable problems (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MM_LONEWOLF (994599) <manfighter22@hotmail.com> on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @03:02PM (#19135773)
    Here's the problem. Intelligent people with decent coding knowledge created a free piece of software that sounds pretty good. Ebay appearantly doesn't want them to use it, and started raising a ruckus. But what happens when hundreds of people with programming skills start doing things like this, especially if computer programming becomes part of high school curriculum? ( http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/05/15/142 0238 [slashdot.org] ) One day, the flood will hit, Ebay, Microsoft, Apple, and everything else will collapse, and the Open Source Community will rejoice.
    • by Irish_Samurai (224931) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @03:41PM (#19136463)
      Actually, I assume that the instant OSS development becomes ubiquitous in the teenage demographic that the OSS community is going to pretty much suck.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You mean in much the same way that Linux rose up and overthrew Microsoft? Oh wait nm...

      You mean the "hundreds of people with programming skills" who comprise open source community that forks projects at the drop of a hat because they can't check their egos at the door and work to make quality products TOGETHER? Some do, to be sure, but consider examples including the KDE vs GNOME vs every other window manager debate, the Firefox vs Iceweasel crap, and so forth... lots of projects that functionally do the
  • by Dancindan84 (1056246) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @03:03PM (#19135783)
    They've done more than embarrass eBay. They both released their plugin first, and done it "better" from a customer standpoint by bypassing ads and including all pictures. eBay cannot simply release their plugin now, as informed users are going to pick the one that has a better UI (one without ads and with more pictures). They also cannot simply change their site functionality to break the student plugin, as they'll alienate customers who are using it. Even if they did that quickly to minimise market penetration it would only be a temporary solution, as any changes will likely be worked around quickly. They'd back to the problem of competing with a plugin that has no ads and better functionality.

    Sounds kind of like DRM CDs vs. digital format music. You don't have to be a lawyer to figure out if the customer prefers better functionality. Let's hope eBay takes a different approach than the recording industry has. I'm not optimistic.
    • PFffffffffft (Score:3, Interesting)

      Wanna know what's probably happening at eBay right now?

      Hello? Dev team? When will the toolbar be ready? Really? Six weeks? I think not. Ship in 3 or you're fired. Click.

      Hello? Systems D00ds / Web Devs? Put the security enhancements on hold. You have three weeks to figure out how to break the Stanford tool bar; the sooner the better. And then roll out the changes with some new eye-candy so we don't look like asses.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by yukk (638002)
      Well, maybe they can't compete with savvy Firefox users who read slashdot, but for the other 99.99% of the world who don't read ./ but do visit EBay and see the big shiny banner advertising the New, Improved, Official, Guaranteed, and Approved by Martha Stewart version of the Ebay Toolbar for Winners, this is likely to be the one they'll download.
  • Market research (Score:5, Insightful)

    by basic0 (182925) <.ac.oohay. .ta. .wolloccmm.> on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @03:07PM (#19135849)
    These students (and probably several posts appearing in this thread) have just given eBay some free, valuable market research. Pay attention:

    1. eBay has great brand awareness. People know about it, and the opinion is generally positive. Hell, it can't be too negative if a bunch of programmer (lazy) students (even lazier) are writing software on their time to access eBay features.

    2. Users LOATHE ads. This should be obvious. Is it just me, or are advertisements starting to have a reverse effect? You see an advertisement or commercial spot, and suddenly you're pissed off at the company in question for ramming advertising down your throat and find yourself not wanting to buy whatever they're selling, even if you need it.

    3. eBay's "gallery" view stuff hurts the overall user experience. I understand they want to make more money, but the fact that one of the first things these programmers bypassed is the gallery exclusion garbage is very telling. People don't want to click through even 1 or 2 things to see a picture of an item. They want to see it immediately, particularly those who haven't the foggiest about web design, image hosting, or listing fees. That group most likely has no idea why there's so much inconsistency between item listings on eBay, and it's a matter of confusion on an already intimidating (to a new user) website.

    It should also tell eBay something about itself. eBay has been around for something like 11 years, Firefox for 5 or 6, and it's been quite popular for the last couple of years (read: other big companies have been producing toolbars for Firefox without much problem). Why did this even have to happen? Get with it eBay...
    • by Hatta (162192)
      2. Users LOATHE ads. This should be obvious. Is it just me, or are advertisements starting to have a reverse effect? You see an advertisement or commercial spot, and suddenly you're pissed off at the company in question for ramming advertising down your throat and find yourself not wanting to buy whatever they're selling, even if you need it.

      Exactly. If I'm considering two items that are otherwise the same I consider their advertising. If I can remember seeing an ad for one of the products, I buy the othe
  • I distinctly read "an e-bay toolbar for FireFox" but what I see on the site is a hacked version *of* FireFox. These are two distinctly different things. Could someone please point out the individual toolbar download? I'm certainly not going to install a second version of FireFox just to get some toolbar included.
    • by djrickatlanta (1080571) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @04:32PM (#19137325)
      If you visit the site with FIREFOX as your browser, it offers to install the toolbar. If you visit the site with EXPLORER as your browser, it offers to install firefox and the toolbar (making the assumption that you don't have firefox already installed.) Just access the plugin site with firefox and you should be okay.
  • by El_Muerte_TDS (592157) <elmuerte.drunksnipers@com> on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @03:17PM (#19136025) Homepage
    Can't they simply go back to creating Counter Strike maps.
    Oh wait...
  • by CrazyJim1 (809850) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @03:20PM (#19136091) Journal
    We're embarassed. All we have is our youth, billions of dollars and our good looks. Whoo hoo, I'm buying a walk in humidor.
  • Goes to show (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @03:30PM (#19136275)
    "Commercial" software (which doesn't necessarily mean that you pay for it, only that some corporation is behind its creation) gives you what the company wants you to have.

    Free software gives you what you want to have.
    • Nope, free software gives you what you the makers wanted to have themselves.
      Software that you have built to spec gives you what you want to have. Give or take some bugs and design errors.
      • Ok, let me rephrase that: Free software does what at least one person that actually uses it wants. Not just what the guys making it wanted.

        The problem is in today's world that you don't "order" software. Few companies and nearly no privat person can afford that. You buy it off the shelf. And that software, by its very nature, does what its maker wants it to do. This can (and should) of course be what the maker thinks the user could use. Which can be right or wrong.

        In today's world, with vendor lock-in becom
  • by madsheep (984404) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @03:46PM (#19136545) Homepage
    ..and one of them repeats: L O L
  • After all, this was a joint project between Mozilla and eBay, wasn't it? I'm surprised that implication didn't make it to the summary.

    Oh wait, I'm not.

  • No surprise that a post about eBay brings out unrelated complaints about fees. The Toolbar never had ad banners, and in fact you can fill up about the whole thing with the various search buttons (just like the Google toolbar). I did customer service for the Toolbar, and it was free, didn't spam you, didn't spy on you, and really wasn't a gauranteed source of profit. It was just a nice thing to give members who wanted it. Not many people used it, and I'm suprised they didn't can the whole thing. The only rea

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