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Fri Oct 20 2006 12:08:07

eBay and Yahoo Like Classifieds Better than Auctio

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay CEO Meg Whitman seemed more excited about the potential of classifieds than its auction business, and Yahoo sees classifieds as a key opportunity.

Auctions are like Rodney Dangerfield on Yahoo - they can't get any respect. Yahoo does little to support them and views them as content to serve up paid-search advertisements. In September, Yahoo appointed a new VP of Marketplaces. She said Yahoo could "win in the online classifieds and local listings segment," ignoring mention of that pesky auction platform.

In this week's conference call with analysts, eBay's Meg Whitman said that while eBay's classifieds area is a nascent business, she sees great opportunities to further expand and monetize them. And in fact, eBay has been rolling out classified format listings on the eBay platform.

Interestingly, one of eBay's earliest employees saw the opportunity in classifieds before eBay did. Rajesh Navar, eBay's 70th employee and first search engineer, founded and built eBay's search team. In 2003, Rajesh incorporated LiveDeal, an online classifieds site that was one of the first "marketplaces" I saw use RSS feeds for buyers to track items in which they were interested.

Early Excite.com executives founded classifieds aggregator Oodle in 2005, another site that building on the potential of classifieds listings.

The auction business isn't going away, but online auction sellers should wonder what this attraction toward classifieds will mean in the long run, and whether it presents opportunities for their own businesses. It may be worthwhile exploring this issue, if not now, then in January.

I'll be keeping my eye on services like Vflyer that try to optimize the classifieds-listing experience. In the meantime, let me know your thoughts on whether online auction sellers can use classifieds efficiently and effectively.




Comments (7) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay and Yahoo Like Classifieds Better than Auctio   eBay and Yahoo Like Classifieds Better than Auctio

by: Ben Walker

Fri Oct 20 16:51:37 2006

Ina

I believe you are right on point. The online classified market hasn't been won hands down by anyone. Tools like vFlyer will make a HUGE impact. vFlyer is so simple to use. The eBay powerseller are going to love it especially as they want to manage listing in multiple sites. Meg may want to buy this company.

eBay and Yahoo Like Classifieds Better than Auctio   eBay and Yahoo Like Classifieds Better than Auctio

by: Linda

Fri Oct 20 17:50:07 2006

So....no more eBay auctions? I'm sort of glad because that'll drive auction sellers and buyers to other sites, and then eBay can concentrate on competing with other classified ad sites.  How refreshing. Maybe the magic can happen again, someplace else, now that eBay has shown the way.  

Thanks Meg.  Glad you're getting out of this pesky auction business.

L

eBay and Yahoo Like Classifieds Better than Auctio   eBay and Yahoo Like Classifieds Better than Auctio

by: Fruit Helmet Cat

Fri Oct 20 23:46:53 2006

Yup, she sees the glorious great opportunities. All that talk. yadda yadda yadda, yet they don't fix what's busted. That's because they're a marketing company, can't build anything, only talk about it and buy up someone who knows how to build these things. I hope Google gets busy and rolls out a commerce venue so all us WALLETS can take our money elsewhere

eBay and Yahoo Like Classifieds Better than Auctio   eBay and Yahoo Like Classifieds Better than Auctio

by: bonni

Sat Oct 21 04:15:51 2006

I think Meg sees all sorts of possibilities, but she never seems to be able to actually bring them to fruition. It's one hare-brained scheme after another, let's give some people free listings, let's let scammers overrun the site and argue that "we're just a venue" then let's play like we're a community, except we won't pay any attention to our community members, and if they leave, that's okay because there's an infinite supply of people who want to sell on eBay....

Pfff. Like a kite without a string.

eBay and Yahoo Like Classifieds Better than Auctio   eBay and Yahoo Like Classifieds Better than Auctio

by: Frank Ross

Sat Oct 21 19:21:14 2006

I have long thought that Yahoo! was putting their auctions out to pasture. This became more apparent when earlier this year, Yahoo! rolled out their new improved main page and auctions were nowhere to be found (formerly they were at least linked from the bottom of the main page). Perhaps Yahoo! did not want to step on eBay's toes and wanted to heighten the partnership they were building with eBay.

eBay and Yahoo Like Classifieds Better than Auctio   eBay and Yahoo Like Classifieds Better than Auctio

by: Howard Lee Harkness

Sat Oct 21 21:08:27 2006

Most of the stuff I sell is not really suited to the auction format, which is one reason I use the classified listings at Blujay.com, which I have found quite successful.
Actually, a large percentage of stuff being sold on ebay is not really suited to the auction format, and would probably do better elsewhere, considering the cost of doing business on ebay. While I don't have as much volume on Blujay.com, it costs so much less to sell there that I actually make more money.

eBay and Yahoo Like Classifieds Better than Auctio   eBay and Yahoo Like Classifieds Better than Auctio

by: Helen

Fri Oct 27 09:37:08 2006

Just appears to be more evidence, if it were needed, that buyers and sellers are wising up to the failings of auction format and it's diminishing popularity.

Personally I think this was why eBay made sure Store listing format would pay them better in future and now it's classifieds and express they want to push hardest.

The good old bidding war days are fast becoming distant memories.



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