skibare and I shared thought provoking thoughts about Xten. skibare theorized, "seems the PRESENCE factor of being able to click and call could be USED for EBAY to ask a seller a question."
I too have thought of that as well, but then I thought about all the Web "call-me button" companies that have come and gone - Hearme, Lipstream, etc. There are a few call-me button companies still around, such as eStara. Basically, if you click on a button on a web page you can initiate a VoIP phone call. If you don't have the softphone client installed it installs automatically with your permission. But for whatever reason, except for a few exceptions, like Lands End, very few websites implemented call-me buttons. (Actually I just checked Lands End, and it appears they took the VoIP button offline - you have to enter in your phone number and they call you over the PSTN.)
But then I thought, what if Xten or Skype landed eBay? Just imagine the ability to sense that the seller is online and you can ask them a quick question about the item they are selling.
The buyer and seller get the benefit of anonymity - you don't have to give your home phone number or cell phone number out - yet they can still talk with the seller to ask questions.
eBay could simply add a checkbox when the seller is creating the item listing called "Allow buyers to Skype/Xten you?" or whatever softphone client they choose to let the seller decide whether or not they wish to be contacted on a per auction per item basis.
I know I've had questions buying stuff on eBay and it was such a hassle having 3 or 4 back and forth email interactions when one simple VoIP call would have sufficed.
Are you listening eBay?