eBay Quietly Unveils New Classifieds Site For U.S.

By: Wire reports and E&P Staff Online auction powerhouse eBay is hoping you might want to advertise online, on its new site meant to rival the popular Craigslist.

The Wall Street Journal says the U.S. version of the site, called Kijiji, has gone live.

The report says the site has been operating in several other countries since February 2005.

An eBay spokesman says people can post ads for free right now, but the company will be exploring how it can make money, possibly by charging for premium ads on the site.

The rise of online advertising is one reason cited for declining newspaper advertising. Some of the largest declines are being seen in their classified ads.

According to a piece on CNET.com, for three years, executives at eBay have been allowed to peer into Craigslist's operations. In 2004 eBay bought a 25 percent stake in the San Francisco-based Craigslist from a former employee. Since then the auction site has held a seat on the company's board of directors.

Newmark, Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster and eBay founder Pierre Omidyar once made up the three-person board. Another eBay representative has replaced Omidyar.

eBay's knowledge of Craigslist's inner workings may not be of much help in the grand scheme of things, according to Greg Sterling, principal of consultancy at Sterling Market Intelligence. Sterling said that Craigslist has a trusted brand in the classified segment, and Kijiji, with that name. is not very intuitive.

"eBay will have to create a brand around it," Sterling said. "Maybe they can piggyback on the eBay brand, but it's not a guaranteed success just because eBay owns it."


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