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RealTime IT News

eBay Goes Regional, Aims for Local Classifieds

Internet auctioneer eBay Inc. announced plans to open 50 regional Web sites by the end of this year, aiming for an audience that might usually head for the local newspaper's classified ads.

eBay (EBAY) will launch the smaller sites in metropolitan areas throughout the U.S., according to The Wall Street Journal, using eBay's Los Angeles pilot site as the model.

The sites will auction goods that wouldn't necessarily have the same appeal on the larger site, such as used car and home items that might prove difficult to ship.

The Los Angeles site has garnered 250,000 users, with the rate of growth higher than that of eBay itself, according to the report.

A growing number of Internet players are getting in line to join a group auction service launched September 20. The service was initially rolled out by FairMarket Inc., Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), Excite@Home (ATHM) and Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch Inc. (TMCS) and will be used as a platform for the company's collective auction sites.