EBay launches international classified advertising site
Rachel Konrad, Associated Press/San Jose, California
EBay Inc. said this week that the online auction giant is entering the Internet classified niche through a new site aimed at international users.
The San Jose, Calif.-based company launched Kijiji.com on Feb. 28 as a place for users to buy and sell goods and services that are difficult or impossible to ship - such as baby-sitting services in the Montreal suburbs or a matching leather ottoman and recliner in Beijing.
Users can post advertisements in local languages if they're looking for a new roommate or potential love interest, want to find someone to share driving expenses on an upcoming trip, or are looking for day laborers or longer-term employees.
EBay says the "intensely local" site was the brainchild of a group of entrepreneurial employees looking for a new business niche. Kijiji means "village" in Swahili.
The site, which lists items for more than 50 cities in Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy and Japan, is a stark contrast to ebay.com, a global e-commerce destination where buyers and sellers rarely live in the same area and frequently ship goods worth thousands or millions of dollars across state and country lines.
"It's a great local trading platform, as opposed to eBay, whose whole focus is building a global platform for trade where geography is irrelevant," said eBay spokesman Hani Durzy.
EBay will not say how many people have used the site since its debut less than three weeks ago. The site is not expected to affect 2005 revenue, and costs associated with the unit were incorporated in eBay's most recent financial outlook.