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Ricardo.de, eBay Germany Square Off in Auction Battle

German auctioneer Ricardo.de Thursday claimed it has beaten eBay Germany in terms of audience numbers, and also introduced a new business-to-business auction format to compete with the imported rival.

Ricardo.de currently boasts more than 400,000 subscribers, and though eBay's user base is not disclosed officially due to SEC constraints, it claims to run 1 million auctions simultaneously, according to an eBay spokesperson.

Ricardo.de today also said it will launch a new international business-to-business auction site in January. The new recardoBiz.com site will offer flexible price trades, general and category specific trade information, and discussion forums, among other features.

Items on the new site will offer a wide range of products, and the buyer and seller will be required to agree on payment and delivery method between parties after the auction. Auctioneers can initially offer their products at six trading locations.

Invitations to tender, Dutch auctions, English auctions, reverse auctions, barter transactions, scouting functions and bid pooling are expected to be added to the feature list in the first quarter of next year.

"ricardoBiz.com will combine commerce, content, and community to establish a successful trading floor for the business community of the next millennium," says Dr. Jan-Henrik Andersson, manager of ricardoBiz.com "Our product range and services will reach out far beyond Internet auctions. That's why we call it dynamic commerce."

ricardoBiz.de will also go head to head with a similar business-to-business auction property on the eBay site, eBayPro.com.

eBay expects to introduce its local auction strategy in Germany in the next year. The company entered the German market in June with the acquisition of alando.de AG.