Perhaps the biggest news coming out of Meg Whitman’s keynote this evening was that eBay will walk before they run with Skype integration. Basically, after stating that they want to use Skype to facilitate trade, especially in higher value items, they will tomorrow announce details of a program to test Skype in selected categories. eBay Motors and “Lost iin Space Collectibles” are two categories she specifically mentioned.. Sellers will be able to participate on an “opt-in” basis.
In the follow up speech by Bill Cobb, President of eBay.com, I get the feeling there is a corporate culture of “test, try, get feedback and evolve incrementally” rather than launching “earth shaking” services. He mentioned a couple of eBay trials where they had to back off as a result of feedback from trial programs.
More to come as we hear it; this post is coming via the free WiFi at Las Vegas’ McCarran Airport. Air Canada is calling…
Update: More details and some commentary can be seen at Tech Crunch:
Whether sellers will welcome voice or IM contact from prospective customers remains to be seen. A more sophisticated offering enabling users to, for example, select only IM or IM and voice contact, or a permission request process letting sellers see a user’s eBay reputation before accepting a call would have been a good thing to see.