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Outsiders get a crack at eBay's Selling Manager

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eBay is throwing open its Selling Manager tool to external developers building high-volume businesses based on its online platform.

The company has announced Project Echo, which it promised would provide the same level of access to features and functionality in Selling Manager as enjoyed by applications currently developed by eBay engineers.

Project Echo will enter private testing in the fourth quarter of this year and public beta in the first quarter of 2009. There was no word on release date for Project Echo, announced at eBay's annual eBay Developers Conference in Chicago.

Selling Manager automatically lists and relists items for traders, and provides information on shipping and feedback about buyers. The service has been closed to external developers.

eBay claims 700,000 merchants currently subscribe to the service, while eBay Web Services account for 28 per cent of eBay.com listings. The company said in a statement Project Echo would provide "even tighter and more lucrative integration between eBay and third-party developers."

eBay-owned PayPal, meanwhile, also announced the Developer Central portal. Due to go live next month, PayPal said its portal will offer a "wealth of new resources to help developers respond to the skyrocketing demand for safer, easier online payments."

The portal will include 25 free APIs for merchants to send and receive payments and refund transactions, along with information on best practices, sample code and technical libraries.

The outreach comes as eBay seeks to maintain growth by turning to fixed-price sales, which account for 42 per cent of the company's business, and moving away from the auctions that helped found it.®

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