Is this eBay’s opening salvo in PR campaign against Facebook?

In this week’s New Media Age we find eBay talking down social commerce. This seems a bit strange to me given it is the leading light in social retail.Let’s think about that for a minute, the online auction site has made its name and a multi-billion dollar business, by bringing people together on a single site and giving them a platform from which they can communicate with each other in order to sell to one another.

As brands and merchants see the 500 million (almost) Facebook users as a huge potential customer base, they are building on their existing brand presence and already engaged fans to promote products and offers. Sound slightly familiar?

It is no wonder eBay’s nose is a little out of joint. By flipping over to page three of the same publication, we see that P&G has chosen to sell its Max Factor beauty products through its Facebook page. What the online auction site wouldn’t give to be the online channel-of-choice for such a brand.

The retail channel now needs to work out how it can maintain its position, and how it can do better than the brand itself, in selling to the end customer. I have to say that if this is eBay PR, it is unlikely to change the steady increase in social retail. The infamous Tupperware party is coming to a social networking site near you.

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