EBay, Amazon extend RSS features

Amazon.com and eBay extended their use of RSS functionality, as the two e-commerce giants leverage this technology to spur sales.

EBay and Amazon.com this week announced extensions to their content syndication capabilities, the latest example of e-commerce players using this popular technology to facilitate the flow of product information to potential buyers in order to help spur sales.

EBay now lets its Web-site visitors create content-syndication feeds for searches they conduct on its online marketplace, the company said this week. When shoppers use the eBay search engine, they now get the option of adding the query to their favorite content syndication aggregator as an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed.

That way, shoppers will be notified automatically via their RSS reader whenever items matching the search query become available for sale on eBay, Arturo Zacarias, an eBay senior product manager, wrote in an official company blog.

EBay has been adding RSS support in recent months to various sections of its site, including its discussion boards and eBay Stores, and plans to extend it to other parts of the site, he wrote.

Meanwhile, Amazon.com said in a company blog on Tuesday that RSS feeds now can be created for all of its users' wish lists. That way, subscribers to such feeds can be notified automatically of new items friends or family members have added to their gift wish lists. Amazon.com already uses RSS technology broadly across its Web site to keep users informed about new products.

Content syndication technologies became popular as an effective way for Web publishers to notify readers about new content posted to their sites. Users have embraced the convenience of quickly finding out what is new in their favorite Web sites by checking their RSS reader, such as the Web-based Bloglines from Ask.com, and Google's Google Reader.

In the case of eBay, Amazon.com and other e-tailers, RSS technology lets them stay in closer touch with its Web site visitors, and consequently increases the likelihood that they will decide to make purchases.

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Juan Carlos Perez

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