After Alibaba coughed up over half a billion dollars for a 18 percent stake in Sina Weibo, many are waiting to see how the two will fuse e-commerce and social media. It’s emerging today that the answer will come on August 5 when the two companies will roll out a version of the Twitter-like Weibo for merchants on Alibaba’s Taobao store (pictured). This effectively creates Weibo stores .
This new fusion microblog that launches next week will be geared toward social commerce. The new platform strongly resembles Sina Weibo, but the service has been optimized to give Taobao merchants more bang for their buck. The service’s new back-end marketing management system allows for directly posting Taobao products to Weibo and provides a variety of data tracking and sentiment analysis features to help vendors determine how effective their social marketing is.
An Alibaba representative tells us, “We are integrating the accounts systems so that you can bundle your Sina Weibo and Taobao accounts together to use either to log into both platforms.” She added:
There will also be a new type of display for Taobao products on Weibo that will show not only a URL to the listing, but a ‘name card’ of sorts that features price, store credit rating, popularity of the product, and so on. There will also be a ‘buy’ button on the virtual card that will allow the order to place an order directly.
Once the accounts are integrated, there will be a more comprehensive evaluation of the user’s credit rating and, as an example, those with low ratings may be limited in the number of times and how frequently they can post Taobao product links (i.e. may help to reduce spam postings); we may also establish a cross-platform reporting mechanism for complaints so that if a Weibo user sees suspicious infringing Taobao-related information they can report it easily and vice versa. Taobao and Weibo can also impose penalties towards those connected accounts on both platforms.
This ‘Taobao version of Weibo’ – as it’s being dubbed by Chinese media – will be as customizable as Taobao’s merchants own store pages, with things like custom backgrounds.
(With contributions from Charlie Custer; editing by Anh-Minh Do)
- Not the official name, but we’re using it for now. ↩