EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 856 - September 27, 2004     1 of 5

Overstock Launches Auction Site Powered by Social Networking

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Liquidation marketplace has launched an auction Web site with a new twist on feedback. Auctions relies on a rating system based on social networking to protect its community of buyers and sellers. It combines a feedback system like eBay's with social networking found on sites like Orkut, a site that connects people through a network of trusted friends.

When users transact business with each other on Auctions, they will automatically join each other's Business Network at the close of the auction and can leave Business Ratings for each other. Business Ratings are limited to one rating per completed transaction, similar to systems on sites like eBay. Auctions users may also invite friends to join their "Personal Network," and friends can rate each other as often as they wish. They can give friends a star rating of 0-5 stars, and can add comments as well. This is similar to Google's social networking site, Orkut. Interestingly, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar is on the Board of Directors of one such site, called MeetUp, an online portal that facilitates offline group meetings in various localities around the world. Auctions is also different from eBay in that it promises to give its top sellers discounts on volume listings, something auction site eBay vows never to do citing a desire for a "level playing field." also says it offers live customer service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The company said it is launching the program with a variety of incentives, including listing-fee credits, an additional 10% discount for high-volume sellers, and a $50,000 prize for growing the largest auction network by the end of October. Overstock is also launching a radio and TV campaign.

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

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