eBay Goes Second Screen: Watch, Shop, Bid, Buy...Rinse And Repeat
If you are an eBay-aholic the odds are you have your tablet open to their app while watching TV anyway. You might as well buy something that relates to what you are half-watching. The online seller that claims to be responsible for billions of m-commerce deals each year already ventures into second-screen territory this week with the Watch With eBay” app for iPad. Unlike most of the TV companions from the networks or third parties like IntoNow, eBay really doesn’t care if you get more out of watching CSI, Dr. Oz or Curious George. They mainly just want to sell you goods.
The app uses geolocation to find your local TV providers and then feeds you the local TV schedule. You tell the app what you are watching and it renders related items for sale on eBay. Watching Dr. Oz? Well, perhaps you want some Raspberry Ketone weight loss supplements? Or a knee brace. Watching a rerun of "Ghost Whisperer?" Well, who knew you could get trading cards of the show, themed Halloween costumes and (I can’t make this up) a Jennifer Love Hewitt/Ghost Whisperer/Wardrobe Bra the seller says comes straight from the set…and, um, JLH’s breasts?
I guess it can get kinda creepy when you are doing search engine association riffs on TV shows. Did you even know there are bobble head dolls for the cast of NCIS? And why would an Elvis biography come up for "Sex and the City?" Well, because it is authored by one “Sarah Parker Danielson” who is just one name away from the show’s star. And try shopping while watching "Rock Center With Brian Williams." You can get a cricket cigarette trading card for the British (what else?) Cricket player Harry Smith.
Okay, I have goofed enough on eBay’s throwing a product search engine at TV show keywords. There is more deliberate and entertaining programming here around more than a dozen celebrities. They are fronting a range of charitable causes you can support. Participants like Jeff Bridges, Christina Aguilera and Kobe Bryant and a dozen more are attached to lists of the kinds of items for which they would bid.
Watching with eBay is a bit of a fake out, of course. Sure, having items related to the topic or stars at hand to impulse-buy is entertaining enough. The holy grail (I think that may be for sale here too) of second screen t-commerce comes when the parallel tablet stream lets the viewer really buy that those shoes or lookalikes now on air in "Desperate Housewives." And of course, everyone is working on this and even testing it here and there.
Call this eBay’s interim step to us getting to true TV-to-T-Commerce. Of course, when someone watches "Ghost Whisperer" and says “I want that bra Jennifer is wearing,” I am pretty sure she doesn’t mean that specific bra JLH is wearing. Well, except for the stray fetishist.