RealTime IT News

eBay Takes Craigslist Stake

Online auction giant eBay has acquired a 25 percent stake in Craigslist, the wildly popular online trading site that lets users find anything from jobs to event tickets to dates.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The eBay investment comes on the heels of a move by Craigslist to start charging a $25 fee for employment listings on two of its more popular regional sites -- New York and Los Angeles.

The acquisition appears a perfect fit for eBay, which also has a huge community element to the online auction service it provides to millions of users worldwide. It suggests a bid by eBay to localize its offerings, much like Google and Yahoo have done in the search sector.

"Whether it's to trade goods, help neighbors or speak out on important issues, Craigslist has become the online gathering place for local communities. I look forward to working with the Craigslist team as its vision moves into the future," eBay chief executive Meg Whitman said.

For Craigslist, launched in 1995 by Craig Newmark as a site for San Francisco Web users to trade items, the deal adds a wealthy backer to help finance expansion plans.

Craigslist powers 45 sites dedicated to cities around the world, plans to add more cities and a Spanish-language site in coming months.

The company, which claims to be profitable, makes money from the fees it charges for job listings. The San Francisco site collects $75 for listings while New York and Los Angeles employers pay $25. Plans are also in place to start charging to list in Boston.