Macromedia and eBay make the Web business prettier

Online marketplace &to=http:// ' target=_blank>eBay has helped create hundreds of thousands of small businesses by offering huge audiences, a trusted interface, easy payment options, and even benefits like health insurance. But those eBay Store sites? None too sexy. Most have a stock cartoon of a typical eBay collectible in the top left corner, with a welcome message next to it, and a list of items underneath.

San Francisco-based Macromedia, whose technology has helped make much of the &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Web prettier, is set to offer a cheap, user-friendly makeover.

The company is expected to unveil a new deal with eBay on Nov. 1 that will see the online auctioneer market modified copies of Macromedia's basic Web publishing program, Contribute, to eBay Stores for $99, about $50 less than the usual price, Business Week reported.

Designed with the non-technical user in mind, the software includes easy-to-follow, step-by-step wizards, so any eBay user can quickly design and publish a professional store featuring logos, images, descriptions, product categories, product showcases, and product search.

Existing Contribute 3 users can keep up on the improvements by downloading a free extension from Macromedia's partner WebAssist Web site.

The two companies have been in on the ground floor of getting the program launched. For example, Macromedia is a member of the eBay Developers Program. As a member, its application is enabled by the eBay application programming interface (API) and certified by the eBay Developers Program.

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