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Sun Jan 1 2006 21:04:17

Lots of Auction News in December

By: Ina Steiner

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Back in early December, I figured the last 2 weeks in December would be fairly quiet, news-wise. Actually a lot happened, some fairly significant, including eBay's 10-cent listing day on December 27, which we had predicted might be coming.

Articles about eBay from mainstream press included those about fraud; drop-off stores; and the guilty plea by the eBay hacker (from 2 years ago, not a recent hacker). Update: And how could I forget all those articles on re-gifting?!

Here are some of the main stories I was covering in the latter part of December (in case you were too busy celebrating the season to notice):

December 16 - 19: eBay sign-in glitch (link)

December 19-20: eBay "Live Pets" controversy (link)

December 20: Isold It got $7.5 million in VC funding (link)

December 21: eBay China eliminated Store subscription fees (link)

December 23: eBay suspended GoAntiques' live auctions account for 14 days (link)

December 23: A development in eBay Patent Wars, MercExchange reached an agreement with the US Patent & Trademark Office (link)

December 23: Online payment service BidPay posted a notice on its home page informing users it was discontinuing operations (link)

December 30: Online-auction site uBid announced it merged with another company and went public, trading over-the-counter (link)

The most significant to buyers and sellers is likely news of BidPay ceasing operations; the company offered a convenient way to purchase money orders online, and it will be missed.

In terms of the industry, the MercExchange agreement with the USPTO is interesting, and if they reach a similar agreement with the USPTO regarding the fixed-price patent, it could have significant ramifications.

It's always fun to cover online auctions, I expect 2006 will be just as interesting (if not more so). Have a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

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