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Ebay blocks users from exchanging email addresses, and tries to manage all user communication via their messaging system - subject to their Big Brother surveillance.
This is to stop users setting up deals outside the ebay marketplace, amongst other things.
The proposal is for a very simple searchable
database. Each record stores only two items; the user's ebay ID, and their email address.
Ebay members wanting to contact another member directly would be able to search the database, and if the other member is also registered, obtain an email address for them.
||You could set it up as an anonymous email
forwarder to preserve privacy. This is basically
what eBay does but would be better because it
wouldn't be monitored by eBay.
||How would it get its data? If it is voluntary, you would have trouble getting enough people to submit their info to make it worthwhile. Better to do it by piggybacking on some other service. E.g. now that PayPal is being spun off seperately, they have enough users to be able to offer this service. Or some kind of prize draw type thing.
||If it's voluntary, how do you ensure that it's the
actual eBay user setting it up? What recourse
would they have if one or the other cheated? If as
an eBay seller you want to sell directly to repeat
customers, just add your business card with web
site or catalog to the package you ship to them
with your first eBay transaction.
||eBay's rating system and dispute resolution
systems (including logging all communication for
future reference) contribute substantially to
keeping people in line. Now they may charge too
much for those services and need to get some real
competition, but that's a different idea.