My eBay Fox Challenges Official eBay Companion for Firefox
Tuesday May 15th, 2007
Friendly Fox writes in with news of an unofficial build of Mozilla Firefox with features to help eBay users: "My eBay Fox is a customized version of Firefox that helps people use eBay more effectively. It includes an eBay Toolbar for Firefox, which gives users easy access to all of the important parts of eBay and a handy set of tools like price comparison, consumer reviews, and shipping information.
"The coolest part, though, is that when you do a search in eBay, the toolbar will go out and find preview images for all the items that don't have them, so every item in the list of results will have a preview next to it, even if the seller didn't pay for one.
"One of the biggest advantages of Firefox is how flexible and customizable it is with Firefox Add-ons. Unfortunately, for most people, finding and installing add-ons is just too much of a pain. So we decided to remove that process and offer people Firefox installations that have been customized for the way they use the internet.
"My eBay Fox is the first of what will become a suite of customized Firefox installations. Right now we are thinking about what the next group will be, possibly social networking sites, other shopping sites, craigslist, etc."
The release of the unofficial My eBay Fox actually predates this month's launch of the official eBay Companion for Firefox.
The Mozilla Trademark Policy requires that any party wishing to distribute Firefox with extensions pre-installed must get the blessing of the Mozilla Foundation if they want to brand the software with the official Firefox name and logos. There is no evidence that the developers of My eBay Fox have sought such permission, which leaves them open to potential legal action. The unofficial eBay Toolbar for Firefox included in the product may also infringe on eBay's trademarks.
It is not known whether the Mozilla Foundation or eBay are aware of My eBay Fox. However, given that Slashdot has just posted an article about My eBay Fox (coming down heavily on the side of the Stanford students who developed the unofficial browser), it is unlikely that they will remain in the dark for long.
Update: A Spread Firefox post by My eBay Fox developer TSquared downplays the possibility of legal action against My eBay Fox. "I just want to assure everyone that Mozilla has been aware of our project from the start," writes TSquared, "and we are coordinating with them right now to tie up any loose ends."
I wonder why Google has not taken down customizegoogle.com or any other unofficial google toolbars etc. That's the great thing about firefox being opensource and customizable. People will create plugins etc for it. I guess the official extension for ebay took too long to create so someone else made one.