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.