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The internet ain't what it used to be.
Ten years ago, portals like Yahoo were all the rage, and auction sites were popping up faster than daytraders at an IPO. (Also: there were daytraders.)
Today, portals are dead, social media is booming, and once-mighty giants like eBay are struggling to hang on. eBay's mainstream marketplace -- the area where folks shop for Star Wars figures and antique cufflinks -- has been in trouble for a while: the site design is stagnant (and ugly), and the profusion of vendors is enough to turn off many shoppers. eBay Motors isn't much better, but a new app could change that by simplifying search for the gearhead set.
The as-yet-unnamed eBay Motors app will ask users to input their car's VIN, allowing the app to set up a custom "garage" for their car. The next time the user needs to make repairs, she simply cracks open the app and scans the "garage" for the necessary parts. Rumor has it that the app will also alert users about manufacturer recalls.
eBay hasn't released many details about the app, though we have to admit, we're intrigued. Being able to find fender clips and side-view mirrors in a flash seems like a dream to anyone who's ever trolled eBay Motors' extensive (and frequently irrelevant) search results.
However, there's one potential problem: in order for the app to work properly, vendors have to be thorough and knowledgeable when inputting their data. For example, if Joe's Auto Emporium thinks that his headlamps will fit any Jeep Liberty from 2006 - 2008, when in fact, they'll only fit 2005 - 2007 models, someone's going to end up with the wrong product -- and someone else is going to spend extra time searching for a part. There's no way around this problem, it's just the way of auction sites, but it's something to watch out for.
We'll let you know more about the eBay Motors app as next month's launch date approaches. Fingers crossed.