eBay Goes Local with Stake in Craigslist
By Ina Steiner
eBay announced today it has acquired a 25% ownership in Craigslist, an online community featuring classifieds and forums in 45 cities around the world.
Craig Newmark started Craigslist as a non-profit in 1995, as a way to communicate with friends about events in and around the San Francisco Bay Area. Currently Craiglist has dedicated sites in 45 cities around the world and remained free for all except for employers and recruiters who post job openings. In 2002, Esquire magazine called Newmark, "The Father of Freebay."
Newmark somewhat distanced himself from the decision to partner with eBay. In a posting on his Blog, Newmark explained that it was a former employee to whom he had given equity in Craigslist who approached eBay. "Although I never figured that part of craigslist might be owned by a public company, Meg Whitman and Pierre Omidyar showed that they were interested in us for all the right reasons," he posted. "Like craigslist, eBay is about helping folks get everyday stuff done, on a level playing field - they emphasize trustworthiness and reputation, and try really hard to listen to people. Basically, we're both about building community, and humanizing and democratizing the 'net, and there's gotta be more of that."
Some eBay sellers currently use Craigslist to find inventory, advertise their eBay consignment businesses, or advertise items that they hope to sell locally. Finding itself competing with local sites like Craigslist and LiveDeal.com, last month eBay rolled out a new search feature that allowed users to sort by distance using zip codes and added a distance filter to Advanced Search.
When asked today whether Craigslist would implement changes to its fee structure or had any other changes planned, Craigslist spokesperson Susan MacTavish Best said no, not at this time. She said it "not yet known" if Craigslist would be integrated at all into the eBay site, and when asked if Craigslist would begin advertising eBay on its site, she said no.
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Research compiled by Barbara Shaughnessy was used in this article.
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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