eBay Trialling Digital Downloads

eBay are testing digital downloads in a trial with software company Digital River. The 90 day pilot allows purchasers to download software as soon as they’ve paid for it.

Whilst this is a common business model for more traditional companies, it’s the first time that eBay have tried it. Pirated and counterfeit goods are still seen as a problem with online auctions, and eBay will have to police vendors and auctions carefully to stay on the right side of the law.

As eBay will only allow pre-approved sellers to offer downloads so we can forget sales of unloved, second-hand iTunes songs for the time being.

As the rapid success of online music stores is demonstrating, internet users are getting more used to the idea of buying goods on a download only basis – including software, music, fonts and reports. If eBay can keep control of their vendors, then this could be the next big phase for them.

Digital River Inc.

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?