RealTime IT News

eBay Continues Fall as Rivals Launch Network

In a unified bid for eBay's market share, FairMarket Inc., Microsoft Corp., Excite@Home and Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch Inc. Monday officially announced a pact to create a new auction service.

The four companies expect to capture 73 percent of the online audience.

The newly released FairMarket Auction Network will serve as a platform for the MSN.COM (MSFT) and Excite@Home (ATHM) auctions. The planned TMCS (TMCS) auctions will also be added to the network.

"Our goal with MSN.COM shopping is to provide people with the best way to find, evaluate and purchase products on the Internet," said Rob Bennett, director of Microsoft's marketing, consumer and commerce group.

"By joining the FairMarket network to provide auction services, our users will have access to another great way to buy merchandise on the Web without leaving MSN.COM."

FairMarket's network will also include auction listings from Lycos (LCOS), XOOM.com, EarthLink (ELNK), and DellAuction.com (DELL), among others. Users can bid through the portal or vendor of their choice, and view merchandise from all the sites included in the network.

The new mega auction boasts the largest distribution of any such network.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

As of mid-morning on Monday, eBay's (EBAY) stock was down 6 to 135, following a 10-3/4 drop on Friday, when the first reports of the deal hit the press.