The move comes at a crucial time for eBay. The company this month is celebrating its 10th anniversary, amid growing customer complaints about everything from lack of attention and reduced sales volume to recent price hikes and potentially better deals from rivals.
Those online auction rivals include Overstock.com, Amazon, uBid and Yahoo, and some have viewed recent eBay price hikes as their opportunity to woo a disenchanted eBay installed base.
Recent moves—including eBays purchase of Shopping.com—have now been met with a new program to help eBay sellers have their own Web sites as a complement to their eBay space.
Many of eBays sellers are small companies that often do not have any Web presence other than eBay. The more those sellers are locked into an eBay environment, the less likely they will be to work with rivals.
The service is dubbed ProStores, and eBay describes it as helping sellers launch their own sites integrated with eBay "customized with its own branding, categories and unique Internet address," according to the eBay statement announcing the service.
"And for the thousands of eBay sellers who already use an eBay store, ProStores integrates with their existing store, allowing them to manage listings and inventory for both stores and accept PayPal for payments," the statement said.