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Publication numberUS20060229998 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/095,411
Publication dateOct 12, 2006
Filing dateMar 31, 2005
Priority dateMar 31, 2005
Also published asCN101167100A, EP1866863A2, EP1866863A4, US20120271707, WO2006105202A2, WO2006105202A3, WO2006105202B1
Publication number095411, 11095411, US 2006/0229998 A1, US 2006/229998 A1, US 20060229998 A1, US 20060229998A1, US 2006229998 A1, US 2006229998A1, US-A1-20060229998, US-A1-2006229998, US2006/0229998A1, US2006/229998A1, US20060229998 A1, US20060229998A1, US2006229998 A1, US2006229998A1
InventorsMark Harrison, Mauria Finley
Original AssigneeMark Harrison, Mauria Finley
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Payment via financial service provider using network-based device
US 20060229998 A1
Abstract
A system includes an interface to receive a request associated with a third party at a financial service provider from a network-based device via a network. The network-based device is associated with a user. The system further includes a payment transfer module, responsive to receiving the request, to transfer a payment from the user to the third party via the financial service provider.
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Claims(28)
1. A system comprising:
an interface to receive an identifier associated with a third party at a financial service provider from a network-based device via a network, the network-based device being associated with a user; and
a payment transfer module, responsive to receiving the identifier, to automatically transfer a payment from the user to the third party via the financial service provider.
2. The system of claim 1 wherein the identifier includes a first identifier and the interface is to receive a second identifier, wherein the second identifier is associated with the network-based device, and wherein the payment transfer module is to determine an identity of the user utilizing the second identifier.
3. The system of claim 1 wherein the identifier is selected from a group including an alphanumeric code, a bar code, an electronic product code, a symbol, and a wireless signal.
4. The system of claim 1 further comprising a network-based system to publish a listing offering an offer for sale by the third party, wherein the offer is associated with the identifier and is selected from a group including a product offered by the third party, a service offered by a third party, and a promotion of the third party.
5. The system of claim 1 wherein the network-based device is selected from a group including a mobile device, a palmtop computer, a laptop computer, a desktop computer, a personal digital assistant, a cellular telephone, a communications device, a wireless telephone, a land-line telephone, a control system, a camera, a scanner, a reader, a television, cable, a facsimile machine, a printer, a pager, and a personal trusted device.
6. The system of claim 1 further comprising a database with payment information associated with the user and with an address destination associated with the user, wherein the database is accessible by the financial service provider.
7. A system comprising:
an interface to receive a request associated with a third party at a financial service provider from a network-based device via a network, the network-based device being associated with a user; and
a payment transfer module, responsive to receiving the request, to automatically transfer a payment from the user to the third party via the financial service provider.
8. The system of claim 7 wherein the interface is to receive a user identifier, associated with the network-based device, and wherein the payment transfer module is to determine an identity of the user utilizing the user identifier.
9. The system of claim 7 wherein the payment is in connection with the request and the financial service provider is to debit a user account and is to credit a third party account accordingly.
10. The system of claim 7 further comprising a search interface to accept search criteria from the user and to generate a published listing, wherein the published listing includes at least one offer from the third party, wherein the offer is associated with the request and is selected from a group including a product offered by the third party, a service offered by a third party, and a promotion of the third party.
11. A method comprising:
receiving a request associated with a third party at a financial service provider from a network-based device via a network, the network-based device being associated with a user; and
responsive to receiving the request, automatically transferring a payment from the user to the third party via the financial service provider.
12. The method of claim 11 wherein the payment relates to at least one of a product offered by the third party, a service offered by the third party, and a promotion of the third party.
13. The method of claim 12 wherein transferring the payment includes the financial service provider debiting an account associated with the user and crediting an account associated with the third party.
14. The method of claim 11 wherein the financial services provider verifies the request and sends associated order information to the third party.
15. The method of claim 11 wherein the network-based device is selected from a group including a mobile device, a palmtop computer, a laptop computer, a desktop computer, a personal digital assistant, a cellular telephone, a communications device, a telephone with a web browser, a wireless telephone, a land-line telephone, a control system, a camera, a reader, a television, a scanner, a facsimile machine, a printer, a pager, and a personal trusted device.
16. The method of claim 11 further comprising establishing a communication session between the user and the financial service provider via the network when the financial service provider receives the request.
17. The method of claim 11 further comprising automatically determining user identification at the financial service provider upon receipt of a user identifier associated with the network-based device.
18. The method of claim 11 wherein the request comprises a code, the method further comprising using a short messaging service to communicate the request.
19. The method of claim 11 further comprising using interactive voice response to communicate the request.
20. The method of claim 11 further comprising executing an application on the network-based device, wherein the application is supported by the financial service provider, and submitting the request in response to a prompt associated with the application.
21. The method of claim 11 further comprising providing information selected from a group including shipment information and payment confirmation information from the financial service provider to the third party, responsive to receiving the request.
22. (canceled)
23. The method of claim 11 further comprising publishing a listing of at least one offer from the third party, wherein the offer is associated with the request and is selected from a group including a product offered by the third party, a service offered by a third party, and a promotion of the third party.
24. The method of claim 23 further comprising accepting search criteria from the user to generate the published listing.
25. A machine-readable medium storing a sequence of instructions that, when executed by a computer, cause the computer to perform the method of claim 7.
26. A system comprising:
means for receiving a request at a financial service provider from a network-based device, the network-based device being associated with a user, the request being associated with a third party; and
means for automatically transferring a payment from the user to the third party via the financial service provider, responsive to receiving the request.
27. The system of claim 26 wherein the means for receiving includes an interface receiving the request for a third party offer via a network, wherein the means for automatically transferring includes a payment transfer module, wherein the system further comprises means for sending information selected from the group including shipment information and payment confirmation.
28. The system of claim 26 wherein the means for receiving includes a response to a near field communication.
Description
FIELD

The disclosed subject matter relates generally to the technical field of data processing and, in one example embodiment, to a method and system of a making a payment to a third party via a financial service provider using a network-based device.

BACKGROUND

Vendors spend millions every year to advertise their products and services to potential client users. Often it is difficult to track the success of specific marketing campaigns. The vendor often does not know whether a particular television advertisement, for example, directly caused the consumer to buy their product. Knowledge of the specific prompt that caused the consumer to purchase may be very helpful to the vendor in crafting future successful advertising campaigns.

Order volume may be increased when client users immediately make a purchase in response to point of sale displays and other advertisements, for instance. Client users may be directed to physical locations, call centers, or websites where the client user directly interacts with the vendor or charity, or a distributor/representative thereof. Potential client users are often reluctant to make purchases, or to make donations because of the time involved in the transaction. As such, the vendor or charity often attempt to make the transaction as quick and as convenient as possible. The time involved for each client user may also include time to give credit card and/or other personal information, such as a shipment address. Additionally, many client users may be concerned about identity theft, and may be reluctant to give credit card or other personal information to the vendor or charity.

SUMMARY

According to one embodiment, a system includes an interface to receive a request associated with a third party at a financial service provider from a network-based device via a network. The network-based device is associated with a user. The system further includes a payment transfer module, responsive to receiving the request, to authorize and/or transfer a payment from the user to the third party via the financial service provider.

Other features will be apparent from the accompanying drawings and from the detailed description that follows.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Embodiments of the present invention are illustrated by way of example and not limitation in the Figures of the accompanying drawings, in which like references indicate similar elements and in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates a network diagram depicting a system, according to an example embodiment of the present invention, having a client-server architecture.

FIG. 2 illustrates a block diagram showing an application server in an example embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 illustrates a high-level entity-relationship diagram, illustrating various tables that may be maintained within one or more databases, according to an example embodiment.

FIG. 4 illustrates an interface according to an example embodiment.

FIG. 5 illustrates a flow chart of a method, according to an example embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6 illustrates a flow chart of a method, according to an example embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7 illustrates a block diagram showing an application server in another example embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 8 illustrates an interface according to an example embodiment.

FIG. 9 illustrates an interface according to an example embodiment.

FIG. 10 illustrates a flow chart of a method, according to an example embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 11 illustrates a diagrammatic representation of a machine in the form of a computer system within which a set of instructions, for causing the machine to perform any one or more of the methodologies discussed herein, may be executed, according to an example embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Embodiments describe a method and a system to receive a request associated with a third party at a financial service provider from a network-based device via a network. The network-based device is associated with a user. A payment transfer module, responsive to receiving the request, transfers a payment from the user to the third party via the financial service provider.

In the following description, for purposes of explanation, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of embodiments of the present invention. It will be evident, however, to one skilled in the art that embodiments of the present invention may be practiced without these specific details.

In embodiments described with respect to FIGS. 1 to 6, the client user may use the identifier to order and pay for an offer associated with the third party through the network-based device and/or a mobile device. The user submits the identifier through the device to authorize payment transfer via the financial service provider to the third party, such as a vendor or a charity, as part of ordering a product, a promotion, or a service, or making a donation. The identifier may be submitted through a web browser on the device, through SMS messaging on the device, through IVR, through an application on the device, and/or through WAP, for example. The device may connect to the financial service provider over a network. The system may read a cookie or other identifier from the network-based device to automatically identify and/or authenticate the user. The payment may be transferred from the account of the user to the account of the third party via the financial service provider. The user account information, e.g. shipment address, may be given to the third party from the financial service provider along with the order, while the user payment details may not be given to the third party. For a donation, user account information may be unknown to the charity.

Platform Architecture

FIG. 1 illustrates a network diagram depicting a system 10 having a client-server architecture, according to an example embodiment of the present invention. A system, in the example form of a network-based system 12, provides server-side functionality, via a network 14 (e.g., the Internet, a public or private telephone network (wireline or wireless), a private wireless network using technologies such as Bluetooth or IEEE 802.11x or other networks) to one or more clients. FIG. 1 illustrates, for example, a web client 16 (e.g., a browser, such as the Internet Explorer® browser developed by Microsoft®), and a programmatic client 18 executing on respective client machines 20 and 22, e.g. on a network-based device. Additionally, a device application 17 may execute on a client machine 21. Further, while the system 10 shown in FIG. 1 employs a client-server architecture, embodiments are of course not limited to such an architecture, and could equally well find applications in a distributed, or peer-to-peer, architecture system.

The client machines, including network-based device(s) 20, 21, 22, may include a mobile device, a palmtop computer, a laptop computer, a desktop computer, a personal digital assistant, a cellular telephone, a communications device, a wireless telephone, a land-line telephone, a control system, a camera, a scanner, a television, television cable, a telephone with a web browser, a facsimile machine, a printer, a pager, and/or a personal trusted device. The device 20, 21, 22 may include a card, such as a smart card, a magnetic card, and/or a key card. The device may include a telephone or any device capable of Short Messaging Service (SMS) messaging, multimedia messaging service (MMS) messaging and/or generating audio tones, such as dual-tone multi-frequency (DTMF) tones. The device may be browser-enabled. The device may engage in an interactive message and/or open communication session, such as SMS, electronic mail, xHTML, Wireless Application Protocol (WAP), web, interactive voice response (IVR) and/or other mobile interfaces. The interactive messaging or open communication session may involve multiple technology modalities, e.g. the client user may engage the system via SMS and receive a responsive communication from the IVR Server or as an SMS with an embedded hyperlinked URL directing the client user's device to a WAP or web page. A hyperlinked URL may be delivered directly to the device from the application server(s) 28 and may be used to access a web site or a microbrowser, such as a WAP site. The device 20, 21, 22 may enable mobile videophone communications, digital television signals, and/or digital radio signals. The device may include a receiver to receive near field communications as described in more detail herein. The scanner device may include a bar code reader/scanner, a Radio Frequency Interface System (RFIS) reader, and/or a symbol reader/scanner.

Turning specifically to the network-based system 12, an Application Program Interface (API) server 24, a Short Messaging Service (SMS) Gateway Server 25, a web server 26, and an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) server 27 may be coupled to, and may provide programmatic, SMS, web, and IVR interfaces, respectively to, one or more application servers 28. The devices may use one or more of these interfaces to access the application server(s) 28.

For example, the web client 16 may access the application server(s) 28 via the web interface supported by the web server 26. The web interface may include a web browser or any microbrowser, such as xHTML or WAP. Similarly, the programmatic client 18 accesses the various services and functions provided by the application server(s) 28, via the programmatic interface provided by the API server 24 and/or the web server 26. In an additional embodiment, an application supported by one or more applications of the application server(s) may be downloadable to the network-based device. The device(s) may host the interface associated with the one or more applications of the application server(s) 28. The interface on the device may be an API interface, an SMS interface, a web interface, and/or an IVR interface. Consumer wireless device platforms, such as Java 2 Platform Micro Edition (J2ME), J2SE and J2EE allow developers to use Java and a wireless toolkit to create applications and programs for the device 22. The J2ME interface may include an application programming interface (API) for the device. The application of the programmatic client may also access the Internet using, for example, Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless (BREW).

The device application 17 executed on the client machine 21 may access the application server(s) 28 via the web interface of the web server. The application 17 may be selected on the device and the Internet may be launched in a background. The application 17 may additionally or alternatively access the server(s) 28 via the IVR interface of the IVR server 27, via the SMS interface of the SMS Gateway server 25, and/or via the programmatic interface of the API server 24. In an embodiment, the downloaded application described herein may include the device application 17.

The application server(s) 28 may host one or more verification application(s) 30 and one or more payment application(s) 32. The application server(s) 28 are, in turn, shown to be coupled to one or more database servers 34 that facilitate access to one or more databases 36. The verification application(s) 30 may provide verification of an order. Verification may include analysis of the order, such as from an identifier 166, to ensure that the identifier corresponds with a third party offer in the database(s) 36. Further, verification may include ensuring that the offer, such as a product, a service or a donation opportunity, still exists from the third party. Verification may additionally or alternatively include inventory analysis with respect to the offer, e.g. verifying the product is in stock. The verification application(s) 30 may communicate with a third party application 38 executing on a third party server 40 to determine if the identifier corresponds with the third party offer, to determine if the offer still exists, and/or to determine if the product is in stock, for example.

The payment application(s) 32 may provide a number of payment services and functions to users, such as client users. The payment application(s) 32 may allow users to accumulate value (e.g., in a commercial currency, such as the U.S. dollar, or a proprietary currency, such as “points”) in accounts, and then later to redeem the accumulated value for an offer (e.g., goods, services, promotions, or donation opportunities) offered via a listing 164, as shown in FIG. 4. The payment applications, e.g. a financial service provider, may also extend credit to user, and/or may also have access to other funding sources to complete transactions—e.g. a credit card, a bank account, and/or a credit line. The financial service provider may operate as a money transmitter or a bank, for instance, and may operate using the payment application(s) 32.

The third party or vendor may receive from the payment application(s) and/or the financial service provider (FSP): information regarding a requested order for a product, a service, or a donation amount (e.g. the identifier), information regarding the shipment address specified by the client user, and the payment confirmation from the financial service provider as specified above. The payment application(s) and/or the financial service provider may secure financial information of the client user with respect to the third party. The FSP may not be sharing the financial information of the client user with the third party. For example, the payment may be received by the third party exclusive of the payment method and/or financial information of the client user, including credit card information, bank information and/or other client user account information.

The device 20, 21, 22 may host the interface associated with the payment application(s) 32 of the server(s) 28. The web client 16, the device application 17, and/or the programmatic client 18 may be associated with the financial service provider (FSP). In an additional embodiment, the web client 16, the device application 17, and/or the programmatic client 18 may be associated with the third party application 38.

The payment application(s) and/or the financial service provider may have an infrastructure to pay a plurality of vendors for a plurality of transactions each day. The payment application(s) and/or the financial service provider may operate independent of the third party. The payment application(s) and/or the financial service provider may be related to the third party, in other embodiments.

The payment applications 32 may also be implemented as a standalone software program, which does not necessarily have networking capabilities. In this embodiment, the device may be directly connected to the payment application(s) 32, without using the network 14.

The payment application(s) and/or the financial service provider may have access to the database 36 having, for example, the personal user account information through, for example, the database server(s) 34. The user account information may include payment information associated with the client user and an address destination of the client user, for example. The web client 16, the device application 17, and/or the programmatic client 18 may operate a program supported by the one or more database server(s) 34. The database server(s) 34 may support one or more account information links on a user interface of the network-based device, for example, using the web client 16. By accessing the database server(s) 34, the client user may add, amend or delete account information of the client user, among other information. In an embodiment, the client user may select a default shipment address and a default payment method in the payment application(s) discussed herein. Depending on whether goods are purchased, a service is requested, a donation is made, or a promotion is selected, a default shipment address, e.g. electronic mail address or a residential address, a business addresses, or a P.O. Box, may be selected by the client user in the payment application(s). One of the default payment methods may include direct transfers from system account balances, internal credit, a gift certificate, a bank account, a debit card, buyer credit, and/or a credit card.

The network 14 may include a mobile telephone network, a wireless wide area network (WWAN), a wireline telephone network, a wireless local area network (wireless LAN or WLAN), a wireless Metropolitan Area Network (MAN), and/or a wireless personal area network (PAN) (e.g., a Bluetooth® network). Other network-based technologies that may be used to connect include PON, VSAT satellite, Micro-impulse Radar, Radio Frequency identification (RFID), UltraWide Band, and/or Infrared. The network-based device may connect to the web using mobile internet exchange, e.g. Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) and/or Hypertext Transport Protocol (HTTP).

The network 14 may allow the network-based device 20, 21, 22 to communicate with the third party, e.g. a vendor or a charity, and/or to communicate with the payment application(s) and/or the financial service provider, among others having the capability to communicate through any various means.

FIG. 1 also illustrates the third party application 38 as having programmatic access to the network-based system 12 via the programmatic interface provided by the API server 24. For example, the third party application 38 may, utilizing information shared with the network-based system 12, support one or more features or functions on any virtual or physical medium, such as a website, billboard, or magazine, hosted by the third party. The third party website may, for example, provide one or more promotional, marketplace or payment functions that are supported by the relevant applications of the network-based system 12. For example, the third party website may display an interface similar to an interface 160 of FIG. 4.

The verification application(s) 30 may communicate with the third party application 38 to verify an order, as discussed above. The third party may receive, from the payment application(s) and/or verification application(s), order information, shipment information, and an associated payment and/or payment confirmation. The third party application 38 may receive and process the order, send a virtual receipt to the payment application(s) 32, and forward the order to the client user. For services and/or donations, the third party may receive a requested order and the payment confirmation, exclusive of the user contact information, such as a shipment address. In an additional embodiment, the service provider or charity may receive client user contact information and may send a receipt to the client user.

Application Server(s)

FIG. 2 illustrates a block diagram showing application server(s) that are part of the network-based system 12, in an example embodiment of the present invention. In this embodiment, the payment application(s) 32, the verification application(s) 30, identifier application(s) 50, messaging application(s) 54, merchandising application(s) 56, and/or loyalty/promotion application(s) 58 may be hosted by the application server(s) 28 of the network-based system 12.

The payment application(s) 32 may include a payment transfer module 42, fraud prevention application(s) 44, revenue share/settlement application(s) 46, and/or dispute resolution application(s) 48.

The payment transfer module 42 may, responsive to the server(s) receiving the identifier 166 (of FIG. 4), transfer a payment from the user to the third party via the payment application(s) and/or the financial service provider. The payment may be automatically transferred, as discussed herein.

The fraud prevention application(s) 44 may implement various fraud detection and prevention mechanisms to reduce the occurrence of fraud within the system 12. The fraud prevention application(s) may prevent fraud with respect to the third party and/or the client user in relation to any part of the request, payment, information flows and/or request fulfillment. Fraud may occur with respect to unauthorized use of financial instruments, non-delivery of goods, and abuse of personal information.

The revenue share/settlement application(s) 46 may distribute payments associated with an order to multiple accounts. For example, two independent third parties, such as a content provider and a content distributor, may each receive a certain percentage of a sale in their respective accounts.

The dispute resolution application(s) 48 may provide mechanisms whereby disputes arising between transacting parties may be resolved. For example, the dispute resolution applications 48 may provide guided procedures whereby the parties are guided through a number of steps in an attempt to settle a dispute. In the event that the dispute cannot be settled via the guided procedures, the dispute may be escalated to a mediator or arbitrator.

The identifier application(s) 50 may generate the identifier 166 based on selected criteria, e.g. the source (the third party) associated with the offer, the type of offer (service, product, promotion, donation opportunity) and/or the placement of the identifier (television ad, magazine ad, and/or client user device).

The identifier application(s) 50 may be associated with an identifier prompt, such as a prompt link on the network-based device. For example, the prompt link may be a web link and the client user may “click through” the hypertext link on the network-based device to be presented with a webpage interface supported by the application(s) 32. The prompt link may additionally or alternatively use WAP, SMS/MMS, IVR, and/or J2ME, as described herein. The link may allow the client user to submit the identifier to authorize a payment to the third party, e.g. as part of a product request.

The third party application(s) 38 may keep track of success levels for respective marketing and advertisement campaigns by monitoring identifiers associated with each point of sale. The identifier application(s) 50, for instance, may receive the identifier 166 upon submission thereof through the device by the client user, and may forward the appropriate data to the third party application(s) 38. Additionally or alternatively, the identifier application(s) 50, for instance, or another application server may track success levels of campaigns and provide this information to the third party, for instance.

The application server(s) 28 may include messaging applications 54. The messaging applications 54 are responsible for the generation and delivery of messages to client users and third parties of the network-based system 12. Such messages, for example, advise client users regarding the status of products (e.g., providing “out of stock” notices to client users). Third parties may be notified of a product order, payment confirmation and/or shipment information. The messaging application(s) 54 may use SMS, IVR, email, or any other appropriate messaging application.

The network-based system 12 itself, or one or more parties that transact via the system 12, may operate merchandising programs that are supported by one or more merchandising applications 56. The merchandising applications 56 support various merchandising functions that are made available to third parties to enable sellers to increase sales via the system 12. The merchandising applications 56 also operate the various merchandising features that may be invoked by third parties, and may monitor and track the success of merchandising strategies employed by the third parties. For example, the merchandising application(s) 56 may monitor efficacy of particular merchandising campaigns using associated identifiers that may be used in the ordering process, as described herein.

The network-based system 12 itself, or one or more parties that transact via the system 12, may operate loyalty programs and other types of promotions that are supported by one or more loyalty/promotions applications 58. For example, a buyer/client user may earn loyalty or promotions points for each transaction established and/or concluded with a particular seller/third party, and may be offered a reward for which accumulated loyalty points can be redeemed.

Data Structures

FIG. 3 illustrates a high-level entity-relationship diagram, illustrating various tables 90 that may be maintained within the databases 36 according to an example embodiment. The tables 90 may be utilized by and support the application(s) of the application server(s).

The tables 90 may include a user table 92. The payment application(s) and/or the financial service provider may access the user table and/or may utilize the user table through the database server(s) 34, as described herein. The user table 92 may contain a record for each registered user of the network-based system 12, and may include user identification information, address information (including default address), financial instrument information (including default payment method, currency information), and other information (e.g. wireless carrier) pertaining to each such registered user. A user may, it will be appreciated, operate as a seller, a buyer, or both, within the network-based system 12. In an example embodiment of the present invention, a buyer may be a client user that has seen an identifier associated with an offer in a magazine advertisement and submits the identifier through the network-based device.

The tables 90 may also include an offers table 94 in which are maintained offer records for products, donations, promotions, and services that are or have been, available to be transacted via the system 12. Each offer record may include the offer information, the price, timing of the offering, and other offer related information. Each offer record within the offers table 94 may furthermore be linked to one or more user records within the user table 92, so as to associate a seller, e.g. the third party, and one or more actual or potential buyers, e.g. a client user, with each offer record. In an additional or alternative embodiment, the offers table 94 may be external to the system 12, maintained by one or more third party servers, and accessed by one or more application server(s) 28 through one or more interfaces 24, 25, 26, 27.

The tables 90 may include a transaction table 96. The transaction table 96 contains a record for each transaction (e.g., a purchase transaction) pertaining to products for which records exist within the offers table 94. The transaction table may include information such as the buyer, the seller, the offer, the price paid, the transaction mechanics, and other transaction-related information.

The tables 90 may include an order table 98. The order table 98 is populated with order records, each order record being associated with an order. Each order, in turn, may be with respect to one or more transactions for which records exist within the transactions table 96.

The tables 90 may include a price submissions table 100. Price submission records within the price submissions table 100 each relate to a price submission received at the network-based system 12. The price submission table may include the bids received in connection with the offer, for instance. The price submission received may additionally or alternatively be in connection with the identifier supported by the identifier application(s) 50, a request 695 (of FIG. 9) supported by the request application(s) 52, an auction-format offer supported by an auction application(s) 528 and/or a fixed-price offer supported by an fixed-price application(s) 520 of FIG. 7.

The tables 90 may include a feedback table 102. The feedback table 102 is utilized by one or more reputation applications 534 (of FIG. 7), in an example embodiment, to construct and maintain reputation information concerning users, including client users and third parties.

The tables 90 may include a history table 104. The history table 104 maintains a history of transactions to which a user has been a party.

The tables 90 may include one or more attributes tables 106. The attributes tables 106 record attribute information pertaining to products for which records exist within the offers table 94. Considering a single example of such an attribute, the attributes tables 106 may indicate a currency attribute associated with a particular product. The currency attribute may identify the currency of a price for the relevant product as specified by a seller. A family table 110 and user-currency table 108 may be used to support related products and multiple currencies in transactions.

Interface

FIG. 4 illustrates an interface 160 according to an example embodiment. The interface 160 may include a publication 162 published on one or more marketplace mediums, e.g. virtual or physical. The third party, for instance, may publish the publication 162 on a billboard, a sign, a television, the Internet, a magazine, a verbal publication, a website, such as a third party website, or any other physical or virtual marketplace medium. In an additional embodiment, a user interface (e.g., a web page, SMS, IVR, downloaded application) may receive the publication 162 from the third party and/or from the application server(s) in response to a query initiated by the client user.

In an example, as shown in FIG. 4, the identifier 166 associated with a listing 164 may be published in the publication 162. As discussed herein, the listing 164 may describe an offer (e.g., goods or services or charitable donations or promotions), which may be supported by any of the applications discussed with regard to FIGS. 1 and 2. The listing 164 in the publication 162 may be associated with the identifier 166, which may be specific to a particular offer. The listing 164 may include multiple offers with multiple respective identifiers.

The identifier 166 may include a request code suitable for entry, by a user, into the network-based device so as to allow payment application(s) 32 to identify the relevant product, service, and/or donation. The identifier 166 may include a code, a product-specific code, an alphanumeric code, a short code (e.g. SMS), a bar code, an electronic product code (EPC) and/or a symbol that may be scanned or read by the network-based device. The identifier may additionally include a telephone number and/or a short code.

The identifier 166 may include a wireless signal. The identifer 166 and/or the request 695 (of FIG. 9) associated with the offer may be submitted to the financial service provider in response to a near field communication. The wireless signal (e.g. the identifier) may be transmitted to the device 20, 21, 22 via Near field communication from the publication 162, for example. A transmitter and/or an IC chip may be embedded within the publication 162 to transmit the identifier and/or the request associated with the offer. The publication 162 may include a symbol (e.g. a logo) or another indication to the client user that the publication 162 includes the transmitter or chip that facilitates receipt of the identifier/request into the device. The device may have a “capture” indicator or button that may allow the client user to capture the wireless signal, with the associated identifier and/or the request associated with the offer. Alternatively, the transmitter may automatically transmit the identifier and/or offer information to the device, for example, when the device comes within a certain range of the publication. The device may have a receiver to receive the wireless signal. To accept the offer or to submit the request for the offer, the client user may submit the request to the financial service provider. The client user may, for example, press a “confirmation” button to send the request associated with the offer, may submit the request through IVR, or may submit the request through any other means.

The identifier 166 may be entered into and/or submitted through the network-based device 21 by the client user, as discussed herein, to authorize payment to the third party, e.g. as part of the product request or order. When the identifier is entered, the identifier may be verified, as discussed herein, and shipment information may be sent to the third party, as discussed herein.

Flowcharts

FIG. 5 illustrates a flow chart of a method 200, according to an example embodiment of the present invention. The right side of the flow chart includes some optional embodiments in the method 200.

In response to submitting the identifier to the FSP, the system may optionally automatically transfer payment from the user to the third party via the financial service provider. In embodiments, ‘automatically’ may refer to the following: no other action on the part of the user is taken to pay the third party other than submission of the identifier 166. This automatic payment transfer may include the client user and/or the client user device registering or pre-registering with the FSP, for instance, as discussed in more detail herein. The user may be a confirmed or pre-confirmed client user within the user table 92. The system may connect with the FSP, and may optionally receive/authenticate user identification (e.g login & password or PIN), before transferring payment. The FSP may receive confirmation from the user regarding the order before payment is transferred. The identifier and/or the order may be verified before payment is transferred.

At block 210, the identifier 166 as discussed herein, is submitted to the FSP through the device to request and/or authorize payment to the third party, e.g. as part of the offer or product request. The identifier associated with the offer may be submitted in a message through SMS, for example. For identifiers that are associated with a product code, for instance, the identifier may be sent directly to the FSP as either the shortcode itself (e.g. where the product ID is associated with the short code) or in the message body of an SMS message (e.g. the shortcode connects the user to the FSP and the FSP retrieves the product code from the SMS message body). The identifier may also be submitted as part of the IVR/DTMF transaction in a telephone call, for example when prompted. The identifier associated with the product may also be entered or submitted in an appropriate field in response to the prompt associated with the device application 17 (on the phone or computer), in a website, e.g. the WAP page, and/or in a J2ME application. Each technical modality may have an interface (e.g. SMS, IVR) with an address (e.g. URL, shortcode, phone #). Any of these interfaces and/or addresses may be associated with the FSP or associated with the third party.

The identifier may be one of several identifiers included in the listing 164 as part of the publication 162 in the embodiment of FIG. 4. The identifier may indicate a selection and/or a donation/payment amount for a variable offer. Additionally or alternatively, the identifier may be submitted to indicate the request for the offer, and the user may be later prompted to submit another identifier associated with the selection. Additionally or alternatively, the identifier may be submitted to indicate the request for the offer and the selection may be submitted as another identifier together with the original identifier, e.g. after a space at the end of the original identifier, tagged onto the end of the original identifier, and/or at the beginning of the original identifier. In an example, the identifier may include a first part that identifies the third party and a second part that identifies the associated offer. The additional identifier may alternatively indicate a color selection, a model selection, a level selection, a gender selection, an age grouping selection, a size selection, a payment amount selection or any other optional selection. The selections may run in a string along with the identifier. In particular, a variable amount due may be entered upon a prompt (via the SMS interface, the IVR interface, the web interface, the application interface, and/or another interface) asking the client user to enter an amount to pay for variable priced products, services, and/or charities or bid for auctions. The process may branch to block 220 or block 230 after the identifier is submitted.

At block 220, the user optionally connects to the FSP through the network-based device. The client user may connect with the FSP in a variety of ways. In an embodiment, the client user may connect with the FSP through an interactive, open session.

A transaction between the financial service provider (FSP) and the client user may be completed through the payment application(s) 32 utilizing, for example, IVR, J2ME, WAP or SMS, to authenticate and/or to communicate. Other systems such as Voice over IP (VoIP) and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) may also be used.

The user may connect to the FSP before submitting the identifier at block 210, or may connect to the FSP after submitting the identifier, as shown in this embodiment. The identifier 166 associated with an offer (e.g. product, service, promotion, or donation acceptance) of the third party may be submitted by the user into the network-based device to initiate connection with the FSP. The identifier 166 may include contact information, e.g. a phone number, a short code, a WAP site, or any other types of contact, such as directing the client user to launch their programmatic client (e.g. J2ME or BREW application).

The identifier may include a telephone number associated with the FSP, wherein connecting the client user with the FSP includes dialing the telephone number, and the communication connection may be through IVR. In another example, the identifier may be submitted as a short code, wherein connecting the client user with the FSP includes submitting the short code in an SMS or MMS communication through the network-based device. Connecting the client user with the FSP may additionally or alternatively include the web client 16 of the network-based device. The user may connect with a web or WAP site associated with the FSP and/or with the third party, as discussed in more detail in FIG. 6. Connecting the client user with the FSP may additionally or alternatively include opening the device application 17 on the network-based device 21 associated with the payment application(s).

At block 230, user identity may be received by the financial service provider (FSP) and/or the user identity may be assumed by the FSP. The user identity may be based on a variety of factors which may include device identification (e.g. verifying a wireless device ID or network IP address) as well as input from the fraud application(s). Additionally, the network-based device and/or the user may submit a second identifier to the FSP to determine the identity of the user. The second identifier may be a code entered by the user (e.g. login with a pin or with a password), a cookie retrieved from the device, voice recognition or any other type of identification. The fraud prevention application(s) 44 may determine whether the second identifier is solicited, and if so, whether it is solicited from the user and/or the client machine. The fraud prevention application(s) 44 may make the determination whether to solicit the second identifier on a case by case basis for each transaction.

The second identifier may include a user log in code, wherein the code includes, for example, a phone number/identification pair, a username/password pair, handwriting, and/or biometric methods, such as voice data, face data, iris data, finger print data, and hand data. In some embodiments, the user may not be permitted to login without appropriate authentication.

The system (e.g., the FSP) may alternatively automatically recognize the user, based upon the particular network-based device used, for example. Additionally, the system may automatically authorize the user to conduct transactions upon connection with the financial service provider through the payment application(s) 32, for example. The FSP may recognize the user from a cookie that has been previously deposited on the network-based device, to automatically recognize the user. In another example, the FSP may automatically recognize the user using any other method, including, a device phone number, a device serial number, voice recognition, caller ID code retrieved from the device, or any other identification type. The automatic recognition may also be considered the second identifier, in some embodiments.

The process may branch to block 250 or block 270 after the user identification is received at block 230.

At block 250, the identifier and/or order may optionally be verified as discussed herein. In particular, the verification application(s) may verify that the identifier submitted corresponds with a known product, service, promotion, or donation opportunity. The verification application(s) may also communicate with a database associated with the third party server to determine if the product, service, promotion or donation is still available and/or is in stock. The verification application(s) may also alternatively connect with the database server(s) 34 to determine if the product, service, promotion or donation is still available or is in stock.

Alternatively or additionally, the incorrect or wrong identifier may have been submitted by the client user and/or the client user may answer no to a query for confirmation at block 260. The client user may have an opportunity to enter or submit the correct identifier, and/or may have the option to first search for the product and its associated identifier on the system, as described herein with regard to embodiments described in FIGS. 7 to 10. The process 200 may branch to block 260 or to block 262.

At block 260, the system may optionally solicit and receive order confirmation from the client user. The application server(s) (e.g. the verification application(s), and/or the FSP) may send a message to the client user requesting confirmation of the specific product, service, donation opportunity or promotion associated with the identifier submitted, the payment details, and/or the shipment information. The shipment information to be confirmed by the client user may be retrieved from the database server(s) 34 by the FSP, for instance. The client user may confirm the shipment information and/or may edit the shipment information accordingly in optional block 262. The process may next move to block 270.

At block 262, the user may optionally edit the shipment information to send the product to an alternate address of the user. The client user may alternatively edit the shipment information to send the product, service, or promotion to a fourth party as, for example, a gift. The client user may also make a donation in the name of a fourth party. A contact identifier associated with a fourth party may be submitted to the FSP. The contact identifier may be an email address or a telephone number, for example. The contact identifier may be a moniker. The process may next move to block 264.

At block 264, the FSP may optionally contact the fourth party via the contact identifier and may request acceptance of the offer in a query. If the fourth party does not accept the offer (e.g., the gift), the order may be cancelled. If the fourth party does accept the product, the method 200 may proceed to block 270. The FSP may request that the fourth party establish an identification and/or an account when accepting the offer and/or when entering the default address. The client user may override the confirmation request (at block 264) to the recipient by providing shipment information, such as an address, of the recipient. The process may proceed to block 270.

At block 270, a payment for the offer is transferred from the client user to the third party via the FSP and/or the payment application(s) 32. For example, the financial service provider and/or the payment application may debit a system account of the client user and credit a system account of the seller or third party. In addition, the financial service provider and/or the payment application may charge the client user's credit cards, automatically withdraw funds from a bank account of the client user, or automatically withdraw funds from credit instruments associated with the FSP (e.g. including the PayPal® Buyer Credit technology). The financial service provider and/or the payment application may pay the third party and/or vendor by depositing funds into a system account or a bank account of the third party. In additional embodiments, the payments may be peer-to-peer, business-to-business, and/or consumer-to-business. The financial service provider may charge a transaction fee and/or a surcharge fee. The transaction and/or surcharge fee may be included in the price shown to the client user or buyer. The payment transferred from the client user may include the payment sent to the third party and the transaction/surcharge fee assessed by the financial service provider.

At block 280, one or more of the application server(s) 28 may optionally send order information and payment confirmation to the third party. The order information may include the identifier, and/or the particular product, service, donation opportunity or promotion, and/or shipment information.

At block 290, the third party may optionally process the order, and optionally ship (or otherwise provide) the product, service, or donation, if applicable. The product and/or receipt may be physically received at the default address destination of the client user. Additionally or alternatively, the client user may receive an electronic confirmation, such as a receipt or a voucher for a service or donation, via e-mail, web page update, device application update, a voicemail message, a text message, and/or a telephone message. The shipment/receipt may alternatively or additionally be sent by the application server(s). For example, the shipment may include a message sent to the network-based device, such as a link to download an application that is ordered by the client user, a message including a code to access a service that is ordered, or a message including ordered information, such as stock purchase information. In an embodiment where a donation is made, there may be no shipment and there may be a receipt sent to the user.

Using an embodiment of the method described, the security of the client user may be maintained with respect to the third party, while conducting order transactions in a relatively quick, open communication session.

FIG. 6 illustrates a flow chart of a method 300, according to an example embodiment of the present invention. Connecting the client user with the FSP may additionally or alternatively be through the third party. In an embodiment, the third party is considered a “trusted” third party. For example, using WAP, the user may see an advertisement of the trusted third party and connect with the third party. The offer may be selected by or requested by the user, e.g. the identifier may be submitted through the device. The user may then be connected with the FSP to authenticate and/or authorize payment. The user may additionally or alternatively then be reconnected with the third party.

At block 310 of method 300, a communication session between the client user and the third party may open. The communication session between the client and the third party may be similar to the communication session between the FSP and the client user as described at block 220. From block 310 the method 300 may branch to block 320 and to block 350.

At block 320, a request, e.g. the identifier or a product code, may be submitted to order the offer associated with the request and/or to authorize a payment to the third party. In another use scenario, the client user may simply wish to make a payment to the third party, e.g. as a donation, in which case the identifier may or may not be provided as part of a request. Additionally or alternatively, the request may be submitted as discussed more in regard to embodiments of FIGS. 7 to 10.

At block 325, following block 320, a communication session may be established between the client user and the FSP, for example, exclusive of the third party. The third party may not be privy to the communication between the FSP and the client user. The communication session may be similar to the communication session as described at block 220 (of FIG. 5). In the course of establishing the communication session with the FSP, the network device of the client user may provide certain identification information, e.g. the second identifier such as a PIN or password, to the FSP so as to enable the FSP to identify the client user. For example, where the network device is a mobile (or cellular) telephone, the telephone may provide information (e.g., the telephone number or device ID) to the FSP that enables the FSP to identify the client user. In another example, where the network device is a personal computer connected to the FSP via the Internet, information stored in a cookie, e.g. data previously “dropped” onto the user's personal computer, may be communicated to the FSP to again allow the FSP to identify the client user.

At block 330, following block 325, the FSP may optionally verify the client user identification (e.g. user login) and/or verify the financial authorization, as described herein.

At block 335, following block 330, client user-specific information is provided to the third party from the FSP. The client user-specific information may include a shipment address, payment, and/or payment confirmation. The payment confirmation may include confirmation that the payment is credited to the account of the third party. It will be appreciated that this client user-specific information may be identifiable by the FSP on account of the FSP previously having identified the client user at block 325. After the client user has been identified and/or authorized, the client user may be reconnected the third party to continue shopping and/or to receive order confirmation.

At block 340, which may follow block 330 or block 335, the client user may reconnect with the third party or with the website of the third party. The user information may be provided to the third party at block 335 substantially simultaneously with the user-third party reconnection, or may be provided after reconnection, or may be provided before the reconnection.

At block 345, the order for the product, service, or donation may be optionally confirmed. The payment may be sent by the FSP to the third party or an account on behalf of the client user upon confirmation. The confirmation may be a reply to a SMS message sent to the network-based device, in an example. The confirmation may also be a reply to a prompt on the web browser of the network-based device, or may be IVR confirmation or may be a reply thru the device application. The order confirmation may also take place while the client user is connected to the FSP at block 330.

At block 380, the method 300 may end.

The second branch of the method 300 at block 350 includes the client user connecting to the FSP, for example, exclusive of the third party. The third party may not be privy to the communication between the FSP and the client user for security purposes associated with the user. The connection may be similar to the communication session as described at block 220.

At block 355, the FSP verifies the client user identification and the financial authorization, as described herein and at block 330.

At block 360, the client user may reconnect with the third party or the website of the third party, as described herein and at block 340. After the FSP identifies and/or authorizes the client user, the client user may be reconnected with the third party to continue shopping.

At block 365, a request, e.g. the identifier, may be submitted to request an offer and/or to authorize a payment to the third party as described herein and at block 320.

At block 370, client user-specific information is received by the third party from the FSP. The client user-specific information may include a shipment address, payment and/or payment confirmation. The payment confirmation may be confirmation that the payment may be credited to the third party account. The user-specific information and/or financial authorization (e.g. shipment information and/or future purchase authorization) may alternatively be provided to the third party upon reconnection at block 360. Then, at block 370, payment and/or payment confirmation may be made. The FSP may remain open in a “background” while the client user remains connected with the third party.

At block 375, the order may be confirmed. The payment may be transferred upon confirmation. The order may be confirmed as described with regard to block 345.

At block 380, the method 300 may end.

FIGS. 7 to 10 illustrate at least one additional embodiment where the client user “shops” or searches, using one or more marketplace application(s) 510, for an offer associated with the third party. In these embodiments, the client user may not know the identifier associated with offer and/or may not use the identifier associated with offer to order and/or pay for the offer through the mobile device. Alternatively, there may not be an identifier associated with the specific offer. Many features of the embodiments described with regard to FIGS. 7 to 10 may also be features of the embodiments described with regard to FIGS. 1 to 6, and vice versa.

Application Server(s)

FIG. 7 illustrates a block diagram showing application server(s) 500 that are part of the network-based system 12, in an additional example embodiment of the present invention. In this embodiment, the application server(s) 500 may host one or more marketplace application(s) 510, one or more verification application(s) 30, one or more payment application(s) 32, one or more request application(s) 52, one or more messaging application(s) 54, one or more merchandizing application(s) 56 and one or more loyalty/promotion application(s) 58. The application server(s) 500 may replace the application server(s) 28 of the network-based system 12.

The marketplace application(s) 510 may provide a number of marketplace functions and services to client users, such as a buyer, and/or to third parties, such as sellers or vendors, who access the system 12. The marketplace applications 510 may provide a number of offering mechanisms and price-setting mechanisms; whereby a seller may list goods or services for sale, a promotion or a donation opportunity, a seller may promote their offers, a buyer can express interest in or indicate a desire to purchase such goods or services or to donate, and a price can be set for a transaction pertaining to the goods or services, or donation opportunity.

The marketplace applications 510 may include one or more store applications 514. In an embodiment, the store applications 514 allow sellers to group their offers within a virtual store, which may be otherwise personalized by and for the sellers. Such a store may also offer promotions, incentives and features that are specific to and personalized by the respective seller.

The device 20, 21, and/or 22 may be used by the client user to search the virtual store of the store application(s) for a product, a service, a promotion, or a donation opportunity. The device may have an IVR interface, a web interface, an SMS or MMS interface, and/or a programmatic interface to allow the client user to search the store and to receive information about offers. When the product offer, the service offer, the promotion offer, and/or the donation opportunity is found or published, the client user may submit a request (e.g. the request 695 of FIG. 9) for the offer(s) through the mobile device, as described herein.

In particular, instead of submitting the identifier to the FSP through the device as described in block 210 of FIG. 5, the client user selects and/or submits the request 695 through the device to the FSP. For SMS communications, the client user may request a particular DVD, for instance. The system may publish a listing of offers, e.g. DVD names, from which the client user may select the order and send back. The client user may submit back the associated identifier with the offer. In other interfaces, such as WAP or IVR or J2ME, the client user may see and/or hear the selections and may click on the selection, enter the selection on a keypad of the device, and/or vocally indicate the selection. The connection through which the search and select process occurs may be thru IVR, SMS, or WAP or a downloadable application such as those designed with J2ME or BREW, for example. The remainder of the flow chart of FIG. 5 may be substantially the same, except in block 250, wherein instead of verifying the identifier, the request may be verified.

Navigation of the network-based system 12, including through the store application(s) 514, may be facilitated by one or more navigation applications 516. The one or more navigation application(s) may include a search module 518. The search may be conducted using an interface 600 of FIG. 8, and search results may be published as shown in interface 650 of FIG. 9.

The navigation application(s) may enable key word searches of products/services/promotions/donations published via the system 12. A browse application allows users to browse various category (e.g. music, books, offer price, shipping price), catalogue, or inventory data structures according to which products/services/promotions/donation may be classified within the system 12. Various other navigation applications may be provided to supplement the search and browsing applications.

The marketplace applications 510 may include one or more fixed-price application(s) 520. The fixed-price applications 520 support fixed-price offer formats and buyout-type offers. The fixed-price offer format may include, for example, the traditional classified advertisement-type offer, a catalogue offer, a television advertisement offer, a magazine offer, a website offer, an SMS offer, a data services offer, a billboard offer, a banner ad offer, or any other type of virtual or physical marketplace medium. The fixed-price offer in any of these listed formats may be considered the point of sale. The offer may be accepted by the client user by indicating consent to the offer, such as by submitting the request 695 and/or by submitting the identifier 166 through the device to the FSP. In an additional embodiment, the client user may use the navigation application(s) to find the fixed-price offer.

In an embodiment, buyout-type offers (e.g., including the Buy-It-Now (BIN) technology developed by eBay Inc., of San Jose, Calif.) may be offered in conjunction with an auction-format offer, and allow a buyer to purchase goods or services or make a donation, which are also being offered for sale via an auction, for a fixed-price that may be higher than the starting price of the auction. The buyout-type offer in any of these listed formats may be published in any virtual or physical marketplace medium and may be considered the point of sale. The offer may be accepted by the client user by indicating consent to the offer, e.g. by submitting the request 695 and/or by submitting the identifier 166 through the device to the FSP. In an additional embodiment, the client user may use the navigation application(s) to find the buyout-type offer.

The marketplace applications 510 may include one or more donation applications 526 that support the offer associated with a charitable institution and/or a specific charitable cause. The donation application(s) may also support the option of receiving variable payment amounts, as determined by the client user, for example. In a particular embodiment, the client user may use the navigation application(s) to find a charitable cause and may submit the request 695 associated with that charitable cause through the device to the FSP. If the request 695 is not associated with a donation amount, the client user may be prompted to submit a donation amount.

The marketplace applications 510 may include one or more auction applications 528 that support various auction-format offer and price setting mechanisms (e.g., English, Dutch, Vickrey, Chinese, Double, Reverse auctions, etc.). The various auction applications 528 may also provide a number of features in support of such auction-format offers, such as a reserve price feature whereby a seller may specify a reserve price in connection with an offer and a proxy-bidding feature whereby a bidder may invoke automated proxy bidding. The auction-format offer in any format may be published in any virtual or physical marketplace medium and may be considered the point of sale. The offer may be accepted by the client user by submitting the request 695 and/or by submitting the identifier 166 through the device to the FSP. In an additional embodiment, the client user may use the navigation application(s) to find the auction-format offer.

The marketplace applications 510 may include one or more personalization applications 530. The personalization application(s) 530 may allow third parties to personalize various aspects of their interactions with the system 12. For example the third party may, utilizing an appropriate personalization application 530, create a personalized reference page at which information regarding transactions to which the third party is (or has been) a party may be viewed. Further, the personalization application(s) 530 may enable a third party to personalize products and other aspects of their interactions with the system 12 and other parties, or to provide other information, such as relevant business information about themselves.

The marketplace applications 510 may include one or more internationalization applications 532. In one embodiment, the network-based system 12 may support a number of marketplaces that are customized, for example, for specific geographic regions. A version of the system 12 may be customized for the United Kingdom, whereas another version of the system 12 may be customized for the United States. Each of these versions may operate as an independent marketplace, or may be customized (or internationalized) presentations of a common underlying marketplace.

The marketplace applications 510 may include one or more reputation applications 534. The reputation applications 534 allow parties that transact utilizing the network-based system 12 to establish, build, and maintain reputations, which may be made available and published to potential trading partners. Consider that where, for example, the network-based system 12 supports person-to-person trading, users may have no history or other reference information whereby the trustworthiness and credibility of potential trading partners may be assessed. The reputation applications 534 allow a user, for example through feedback provided by other transaction partners, to establish a reputation within the network-based system 12 over time. Other potential trading partners may then reference such a reputation for the purposes of assessing credibility and trustworthiness.

In order to allow listings and/or products, available via the network-based system 12, to be published in a visually informing and attractive manner, the marketplace applications 510 may include one or more imaging applications 536. Third parties may upload images for inclusion within offer listings using J2ME, MMS, and WAP or other microbrowsers. An imaging application 536 also operates to incorporate images within viewed offered listings. The imaging application 536 may also operate to publish the identifier 166 associated with the listing 164 on the display 162. The imaging applications 536 may also support one or more promotional features, such as image galleries that are presented to potential buyers. For example, sellers may pay an additional fee to have an image included within a gallery of images for promoted offers.

The marketplace applications 510 may include one or more offer creation applications 538. The offer creation applications 538 allow sellers conveniently to author products pertaining to goods or services that they wish to transact via the system 12. Offer management applications 540 allow sellers to manage offers, such as goods, services, or donation opportunities. Specifically, where a particular seller has authored and/or published a large number of products, the management of such products may present a challenge. The offer management applications 540 provide a number of features (e.g., auto-reproduct, inventory level monitors, etc.) to assist the seller in managing such products. One or more post-offer management applications 542 also assist sellers with a number of activities that typically occur post-offer. For example, upon completion of an auction facilitated by one or more auction applications 528, a seller may wish to leave feedback regarding a particular buyer. To this end, a post-offer management application 542 may provide an interface to one or more reputation applications 534, so as to allow the seller conveniently to provide feedback regarding multiple buyers to the reputation applications 534.

The application server(s) 500 may include one or more request application(s) 52. The request application(s) 52 may operate similar to the identifier application(s) 50, and in some instances may be substantially identical to the identifier application(s) 50. The request application(s) 52 may be responsive to the request 695 selected with regard to the embodiment of FIG. 9.

User Interfaces

FIG. 8 illustrates an interface 600 of a publication 610, according to an example embodiment. The publication 610 may include a search criteria prompt field 620 to receive search criteria from, for example, a user. The publication 610 may be published through the device and may be published using interfaces such as IVR, SMS, WAP, the world wide web, cable television, J2ME applications, and/or any other types of interfaces.

FIG. 9 illustrates an interface 650 of a publication 660, according to an example embodiment. The publication 660 may be published through the device and may be published using, for example, IVR, SMS, WAP, and/or J2ME. The publication 660 may include a search result set 670. The search result set 670 constitutes an example of a list of information, which may be published in response to a search query using the received search criteria submitted with respect to FIG. 8.

The search result set 670 may present one or more offers, such as a first offer 680 and a second offer 690. Taking a commerce website as an example, the user may “click through” a hypertext link presented in the list of search results, to be presented with a webpage providing details with regard to the offer, as may have been created in the offer creation application(s) 538. To accept the offer, the client user may select the offer, and may order the offer by submitting the request to the FSP through the device using the request link 695.

In an event where the identifier 166 may be found by the client user in the virtual store of the store application(s), the identifier 166 may be submitted to the FSP through the network-based device, as discussed herein, to order the respective offer. In other embodiments, the identifier 166 is not used in the search results and/or the order transaction.

Flow Chart

FIG. 10 illustrates a flow chart of a method 700, according to an example embodiment of the present invention. The method 700 includes conducting a search for offers according to certain criteria and publishing the search result set.

The method 700 may begin at block 710, where the navigation application(s) may receive a search request after the client user has submitted search criteria in FIG. 8. The search request may include filter criteria such as status criteria, category criteria, price criteria, or any one of a number of other criteria.

At block 720, the navigation application(s) may conduct a search of offers by applying the filter criteria to offers stored in the store application(s), the offers table 94, and/or third party databases, for instance.

At block 730, offers that satisfy the search request are identified, and are included in the search result set 670.

At block 740, the search result set 670 may be published in publication 660. The client user may select and request the offer directly from the search result set, as discussed herein.

The method then ends at block 750.

Computer System

FIG. 11 shows a diagrammatic representation of a machine in the example form of a computer system 800 within which a set of instructions, for causing the machine to perform any one or more of the methodologies discussed herein, may be executed. In alternative embodiments, the machine operates as a standalone device or may be connected (e.g., network) to other machines. In a network deployment, the machine may operate in the capacity of a server or a client user machine in server-client user network environment, or as a peer machine in a peer-to-peer (or distributed) network environment. The machine may be a server computer, a client user computer, a personal computer (PC), a tablet PC, a set-top box (STB), a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA), a cellular telephone, a mobile device, a palmtop computer, a laptop computer, a desktop computer, a personal digital assistant, a communications device, a wireless telephone, a land-line telephone, a control system, a camera, a scanner, a facsimile machine, a printer, a television, television cable a pager, a personal trusted device, a web appliance, a network router, switch or bridge, or any machine capable of executing a set of instructions (sequential or otherwise) that specify actions to be taken by that machine.

Further, while a single machine is illustrated, the term “machine” shall also be taken to include any collection of machines that individually or jointly execute a set (or multiple sets) of instructions to perform any one or more of the methodologies discussed herein.

The example computer system 800 includes a processor 802 (e.g., a central processing unit (CPU), a graphics processing unit (GPU), or both), a main memory 804 and a static memory 806, which communicate with each other via a bus 808. The computer system 800 may further include a video display unit 810 (e.g., a liquid crystal display (LCD) or a cathode ray tube (CRT)). The computer system 800 also includes an input device 812 (e.g., a keyboard), a cursor control device 814 (e.g., a mouse), a disk drive unit 816, a signal generation device 818 (e.g., a speaker) and a network interface device 820.

The disk drive unit 816 includes a machine-readable medium 822 on which is stored one or more sets of instructions (e.g., software 824) embodying any one or more of the methodologies or functions described herein. The instructions 824 may also reside, completely or at least partially, within the main memory 804, the static memory 806, and/or within the processor 802 during execution thereof by the computer system 800. The main memory 804 and the processor 802 also may constitute machine-readable media.

The instructions 824 may further be transmitted or received over a network 826 via the network interface device 820.

Applications that may include the apparatus and systems of various embodiments broadly include a variety of electronic and computer systems. Some embodiments implement functions in two or more specific interconnected hardware modules or devices with related control and data signals communicated between and through the modules, or as portions of an application-specific integrated circuit. Thus, the example system is applicable to software, firmware, and hardware implementations.

While the machine-readable medium 822 is shown in an example embodiment to be a single medium, the term “machine-readable medium” should be taken to include a single medium or multiple media (e.g., a centralized or distributed database, and/or associated caches and servers) that store the one or more sets of instructions. The term “machine-readable medium” shall also be taken to include any medium that is capable of storing, encoding or carrying a set of instructions for execution by the machine and that cause the machine to perform any one or more of the methodologies of the present invention. The term “machine-readable medium” shall accordingly be taken to include, but not be limited to, solid-state memories, optical and magnetic media, and carrier wave signals.

The illustrations of embodiments described herein are intended to provide a general understanding of the structure of various embodiments, and they are not intended to serve as a complete description of all the elements and features of apparatus and systems that might make use of the structures described herein. Many other embodiments will be apparent to those of skill in the art upon reviewing the above description. Other embodiments may be utilized and derived therefrom, such that structural and logical substitutions and changes may be made without departing from the scope of this disclosure. FIGS. 1 to 11 are merely representational and may not be drawn to scale. Certain proportions thereof may be exaggerated, while others may be minimized. Accordingly, the specification and drawings are to be regarded in an illustrative rather than a restrictive sense.

The following description includes terms, such as “up”, “down”, “upper”, “lower”, “first”, “second”, etc. that are used for descriptive purposes only and are not to be construed as limiting. The elements, materials, geometries, dimensions, and sequence of operations may all be varied to suit particular applications. Parts of some embodiments may be included in, or substituted for, those of other embodiments. While the foregoing examples of dimensions and ranges are considered typical, the various embodiments are not limited to such dimensions or ranges.

The Abstract is provided to comply with 37 C.F.R. §1.74(b) to allow the reader to quickly ascertain the nature and gist of the technical disclosure. The Abstract is submitted with the understanding that it will not be used to interpret or limit the scope or meaning of the claims.

In the foregoing Detailed Description, various features are grouped together in a single embodiment for the purpose of streamlining the disclosure. This method of disclosure is not to be interpreted as reflecting an intention that the claimed embodiments have more features than are expressly recited in each claim. Thus the following claims are hereby incorporated into the Detailed Description, with each claim standing on its own as a separate embodiment.

Thus, embodiments describe a method and a system to automatically transfer payment to a third party, for example, as part of a request from a network-based device. Although embodiments of the present invention have been described with reference to specific example embodiments, it will be evident that various modifications and changes may be made to these embodiments without departing from the broader spirit and scope of embodiments as expressed in the subjoined claims.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification705/78, 705/52
International ClassificationG06Q99/00
Cooperative ClassificationH04L67/02, H04L67/04, H04L67/20, G06Q20/32, G06Q20/24, G06Q20/02, G06Q30/04, G06Q30/02, G06Q20/0855, G06Q20/12
European ClassificationG06Q20/02, G06Q20/12, G06Q30/02, G06Q20/24, G06Q20/32, G06Q30/04, G06Q20/0855, H04L29/08N3, H04L29/08N1, H04L29/08N19
Legal Events
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Aug 25, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: EBAY INC., CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:HARRISON, MARK;OLLIPHANT, HUGO;REEL/FRAME:016668/0653;SIGNING DATES FROM 20050816 TO 20050819
Mar 31, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: EBAY INC., CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:HARRISON, MARK;FINLEY, MAURIA;REEL/FRAME:016474/0792
Effective date: 20050330