EBay's AdContext Is Still In Beta, 15 Months And Counting

Waiting for EBay's long-awaited AdContext program? Pull up a chair, as you may have a very long wait. Indeed, this is one of the lenghtiest public betas I've ever seen. In the early summer of 2006, EBay announced that its program to scan news stories for references to products that they have on auction, to be called AdContext.

It was supposed to ship by the end of the year. In November, that "end of year" became "January." In December, "January" became "first quarter 2007." In March, no timing was mentioned at all.

On Thursday, an EBay senior manager said the product was still in beta and he couldn't even guess at a new target for launch. Guess this kind of functionality is more difficult than it seemed. At least more difficult for EBay.