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CNET News reports that both and eBay are transforming themselves into virtual malls, developing mature strategies that allow them to meet all of shoppers’ various needs.

While one started as a bookstore and the other as an online auctioneer, now they are using their existing technologies and infrastructures to build new “storefronts” for outside partners, becoming online service providers for businesses, offering centralized checkout facilities while taking a piece of each transaction.

This allows both companies to be competitive with Wal-Mart, at least in the online environment.
KC's View:
The only question is when Wal-Mart decides to buy one or the other…

The downside is that it becomes increasingly difficult for small, niche online retailers to survive as completely independent entities, simply because Amazon and eBay are building up so much competitive mass. That’s sort of surprising in such a young channel that supposedly nurtures the niche player, but perhaps it is a measure of how fast things evolve in the 21st century environment.

One other question…

When do you think these guys will start adding food to their offerings?