New enhanced eBay Certified Provider Program

eBay Certified ProvidereBay have announced a new and enhanced Certified Provider Program which is launching with just 7 charter members. The new program is currently scheduled to roll out more broadly in 2015

eBay have had a Certified Provider Program since 2004. In 2011 they relaunched the Certified Provider Program and slashed the number of certified providers to just 15 companies. The 2011 incarnation of the Certified Partner Page now links to the eBay.com selling tools page.

What’s a surprise is not the vendors who are charter members of the enhanced Certified Provider Program (Ally Commerce, eSellerPro, Kadro, Mercent, Monsoon Commerce, Shopping Feed and Solid Commerce). The surprise is the companies which are missing.

Where for instance are Terapeak who are the only official licensee of eBay sales data. Where are the eBay owned companies such as Magento (eBay owned) with M2E Pro (eBay funded)? What about ChannelAdvisor (who eBay own a chunk of) and other high profile multi-channel management companies?

eBay explain the criteria for selecting the companies included saying: “Each provider will deliver solutions and support that will help merchants scale and accelerate their success on eBay. Additionally, merchants will receive an unprecedented level of services, such as selling tips and information on how to jumpstart selling on eBay“.

They add that “Like the traditional program, the enhanced eBay Certified Provider Program works closely with providers to certify their 3rd party applications. In addition, the program ensures timely new feature adoption and expedited issue resolution. Providers will invite qualified sellers to join as merchants under this program, who will receive proven account management services and integration to efficiently and effectively set up their business on eBay“.

Reading between the lines it looks very much as if this program is less about having your product certified as compatible with eBay, and much more a commitment by the vendors to work closely with eBay to catapult Outlet style retailers onto the marketplace.

We could surmise that there’s some financial deals being done behind the scenes to support the additional support being offered but it would be pure speculation. However it wouldn’t be a surprise if invited merchants ended up with a funded (effectively free) solution for a period of time while they get set up. eBay have done deals such as this before with their accelerated growth program where participants got a free 6 months subscription for an ecommerce management software package.

We’ll be watching with interest to see who else is added to the program in the future and to find out what happens to the other eBay Certified (but not enhanced) members of the Program.