eBay Sites and Environments

eBay is not one site, but rather an integrated collection of sites that work together. There are some nuances and differences that a developer must consider. eBay includes an integrated collection of sites. In addition to sites specific to the US and other countries, eBay includes a test environment for your use.

Topics:

The Production and Sandbox Environments

The US and International eBay Sites

PayPal

eBay Stores

Half.com

The Production and Sandbox Environments

An eBay-enabled application that sends real data to the eBay Web site is executing calls in the Production environment (also called the Production site). Likewise, a user who views the eBay Web site through a browser (or the eBay mobile app) is viewing data in the Production environment.

As you develop your application, you will likely test its functionality by simulating the various tasks related to buying and selling on eBay before you transact in the live Production environment. eBay provides a test environment, called the Sandbox, that allows you to test without effecting real users, real items, or real money. Items listed and sold in this environment do not reflect real transactions (if you sell an item in the Sandbox, you do not actually send it off), and all listing fees and item purchases are paid with fictional money.

To use the Sandbox, you will create one or more test users to simulate the sellers who list items to the Sandbox. Likewise, you will also create one or more test users to act as the buyers that bid the items listed in the Sandbox (see PlaceOffer for full details). You can even expand your test suites by combining your efforts with those of other members of the eBay Developers Program and test each other's listings. For complete details about using the Sandbox, see Testing in the SandBox.

Important! The Sandbox might be unavailable on Wednesdays from 8pm-10pm Pacific Time due to system maintenance.

After you've finished testing, and you're sure your application is working the way you intend, go live by switching your calls from the Sandbox to the Production environment. Production is the live eBay site and everything "counts." That is, you will be charged fees for listing and selling items, and you will need to pay real money for any items you purchase. On the Production site, item selling and buying is done by real eBay users and negative feedback will stay on your record. Because of this, fully test your application before you move it to the Production site.

The Sandbox is designed for testing the features and functionality of your applications and, in this sense, you can make up to 5,000 calls per day for function testing. Do not, however, use the Sandbox environment for testing eBay service performance or load handling—high call volumes to the Sandbox may result in an interruption of service for your account.

Also note that your application must meet certain requirements for it to be enabled in the Production environment. Please be aware of the eBay service requirements in advance of designing and implementing your application. For details, see Planning Ahead and Using Live Data in Production.

You need a set of authorization keys to access the Sandbox and Production environments with your API requests, and each environment requires its own unique set of keys. When you join the eBay Developers Program, eBay assign to your account a set of keys for each environment. The Sandbox keys cannot be used to access the Production site, and the Production keys cannot be used to access the Sandbox.

In addition to having different sets of keys, each environment also has a dedicated URL that applications must use when addressing their API requests. This enables you to design, program, and, test your application using the Sandbox, then, when you're ready to go live, you can simply change the target URLs in your API calls from the Sandbox environment to the live production environment. When targeting the Production environment, your application will be interacting with real items, real users, and real money. See Routing the Request for the current URLs.

The US and International eBay Sites

eBay consists of a number of sites across the globe that all enable users to sell and buy items. The difference between these sites being that each is dedicated to a particular geographical region and uses language of the region for the eBay user interface and item listings.

Sellers list to a particular site to make their items available to the buyers who are registered on and log into a particular geographical site. Sellers can list the same item on multiple sites to make the item available to a broader audience. However, a seller can only list an item to a particular site if they have enabled shipping of the item to that region. For example, a seller registered on the Germany eBay site may have an item listed on the Germany and US sites, but should only do the latter if they are willing to ship the item to a buyer in the US.

Buyers typically log in to the eBay site in which they are registered and so see only items listed on that site. If an item from another site is also listed on the site the buyer is logged into, they will see that item with some modifications. For instance, the user interface will be that of the buyer's home site and in the associated language. But text that the seller specified for the item—such as the item title and description—appear in the language the seller used (eBay does not alter this information). Additionally, prices are converted to the currency of the buyer's site. For example, if an eBay UK buyer is viewing an item that an eBay US seller listed to the UK site, that buyer will see prices converted to British Pounds—even though the seller listed the item in US Dollars. (This currency conversion is done automatically by eBay and is not something the seller or the seller's application need to worry about doing.) There are several ways to list the same item on multiple sites. For details see the eBay help page How can I sell internationally?.

Also there are a number of special considerations an application must make for listing items to and retrieving items from sites other than the US. Not all features available on the US eBay site are available on all global sites.

PayPal

PayPal is an online payment service that is tightly coupled with eBay. PayPal provides buyers with a safe and secure means to pay sellers for items they purchase. While PayPal is a separate company with a separate web site, it is closely integrated into the eBay selling and buying processes. Information about PayPal is available at the following locations:

PayPal Home Page

http://paypal.com

PayPal Developer Page

https://developer.paypal.com

For more information on how PayPal works with eBay, and how to integrate PayPal into your applications, see Using PayPal.

eBay Stores

An eBay Store is a subdomain on eBay on which selling businesses set up a distinct presence and buyers see only the items for that business.

Sellers can subscribe to be owners of an eBay Store (also referred to as a storefront). After they subscribe, they are known as store owners (store subscribers).

The seller can then customize this location and set up custom categories. Items that the seller lists are the only items that appear in the Store. This is as opposed to listing items in the general eBay categories, where a given category will have items from numerous sellers, all competing against one another for the attention of buyers. However, items that appear in an eBay Store also appear on the eBay web site.

An eBay Store enables a seller to set up a site with which the seller has an online presence dedicated to just that seller's business. This makes it easier for a buyer to find items sold by that business, especially important once the business gains name recognition and cultivates a return business customer base.

An eBay Store owner can list items that only appear in that Store. The seller can also list auction items that appear both in the Store and in the general eBay categories.

There are special considerations an application must make when listing items to or retrieving items from eBay Stores. For more information on working with eBay Stores in applications, see Opening and Managing an eBay Store.

eBay Stores main page

http://stores.ebay.com

Half.com

The API lets you list items on the Half.com site. This site enables you to sell new and used Books, CDs, Movies, Games, and Game Systems. The items you list for sale will be seen by millions of potential buyers. You can list Half.com items for longer durations than eBay auction and fixed-price listings. Half.com takes a small commission when your item sells (you do not pay fees for unsold items).

There are special considerations an application must make when listing items to or retrieving items from Half.com. For information on working with Half.com in applications, see Half.com.

Half.com by eBay

http://www.half.ebay.com/

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