My favorite iPhone application to date is iPhoneMyeBay (now iRibbit) because it's the perfect summer companion for eBay junkies. Who wants to be chained to their desk waiting for an auction to close in the hot summer months? Now you can bid on anything on eBay and win it from the comfort of the pool, beach or just waiting in line at the grocery store.
On 23 July I reported that IME was the first eBay client application blessed by eBay and listed as a "certified application" in the eBay solution directory. If you're new to the whole Web applications thing, that means that IME uses eBay's authentication server and your login information is never stored on their servers (which is a lot more than can be said for most Web-based client applications).
To get access to the bidding API in production they had to pass IME through eBay's "compatible application check," which ensures that it can it do dutch auctions, calculated shipping and that it's not a sniping tool.
IME version 1.0, while functional, only allowed users to bid and watch items from their iPhone. Version 2 adds three significant new features:
- Quick keyword searching (v.2)
- Advanced Search options (v.2)
- Add items to your Watch list (v.2)
- Bid from your iPhone
- View your eBay Watch list
- Check the current item bid
- Always know when the auction closes
- See Item Details - including # of hits
- Know if you are the high bidder
The first question I asked core developer Chuck Hudson was how he could monetize an application like IME that lacked advertising. He told me the eBay introduced their new Place Offer (bidding) API to developers at their developer conference in Boston just this spring (11-13 June 2007) and incented them with a small cut of eBay's portion of the sellers fee of auctions won by bidders using the Place Offer API.
The great thing about this is that it costs the bidder and the seller nothing, eBay is taking it out of their cut. The Place Offer doesn't currently support auto-pay, so obviously IME doesn't either.
Chuck has been an eBay developer for two years, although he created a watching and bidding tool in the late 90s for the desktop. According to Chuck bidding was the hardest and the most beneficial feature so he tackled that first. The other components were easier and are now available in version 2 which he developed in under two weeks. When I asked what was on tap for version three, Chuck mentioned that he just finished version 2 at 4 a.m. this morning (slacker!) but that some users have already posted in their forums requesting access to eBay's favorite searches and the ability to leave feedback. You can also expect tighter integration with My eBay to come.
Updated 8/12 with change of name to iRibbit.