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QXL.com To Be Auctioneer for Germany's Top Free ISP

In a week that has seen major moves in the online auction industry, QXL.com plc announced that its German language site QXL.de will be the exclusive online auction for Freenet.de, Germany's leading free ISP.

The deal will put QXL.de on Freenet's high profile pages, including the 'Deal of the Day' auction in the Shopping channel. Freenet will also run QXL.de banners throughout its site.

The service is scheduled to go live on February 1, and represents a major coup for QXL.com at a time when its share price has been falling after its meteoric rise last year.

"This agreement with Freenet.de provides QXL.com with an additional opportunity to reach a very large number of customers," said Jim Rose, CEO, QXL.com plc.

Rose added that he was confident the deal would demonstrate how both companies can integrate their services to offer a better deal to all customers.

Eckhard Spoerr, CEO, Freenet.de, said that unlike other auctions houses, QXL.de offers a wide spectrum of special events, services and auctions in the biggest e-commerce markets in Western Europe.

"With this partnership we can offer our users an interesting, extensive and innovative service," said Spoerr.

Freenet.de is similar, but not related to Freeserve in the U.K. It had more than 820,000 Internet users at the end of 1999, although it launched as recently as October.

Competition in the online auction industry is becoming acute with this week's announcement by Ricardo of a U.K. site, with launches in the Netherlands, France and Italy to follow soon.