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Yahoo Auctions Going, Going, Gone

Yahoo has decided that its gavel has had enough. The company announced on a post to its Web site that its U.S. and Canada Auctions site will go dark on June 16.

Yahoo will continue to provide sellers, bidders, and buyers with customer care and a limited set of features and tools through Oct. 29. The last day to list an item for sale on Yahoo Auctions will be June 3. Also, listings will not auto re-submit after that date. As of May 4, the Auto Re-Submit feature and the Auctions Scheduler are no longer available for new auctions listings.

Yahoo said that "leading" Yahoo Auction sites in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan will remain in business. In 2005, Yahoo paid $1 billion for a 40 percent stake in its Asian partner, Alibaba.

But a quick look at the stats indicate that the writing was on the wall that Yahoo Auctions in the U.S. and Canada weren't long for the Web.

According to Hitwise, a media metrics firm, in the week ending May 5, 2007, eBay Web sites (including eBay, eBay Motors and eBay UK and Canada) accounted for more than 94 percent of visits to the auction sites Hitwise monitors. Yahoo Auctions scored only 0.19 of all visits to those same sites.

And Yahoo actually sent a great deal of traffic to eBay, according to Hitwise. EBay is the largest e-commerce site to benefit from Yahoo searches, receiving 1.34 percent of the searches for the week ending May 5, 2007. In comparison, Yahoo Auctions accounted for only 0.01 percent of the traffic leaving Yahoo Search in that period.

In a blog post commenting on the news, Hitwise Research Director LeeAnn Prescott wrote that Yahoo likely decided to close the Auctions site not long after it became eBay's exclusive provider of graphical ads, as well as sponsored search advertisements.

A Yahoo spokesperson told internetnews.com that eBay had no direct involvement in the decision to close Yahoo Auctions, however.

In related news, a Yahoo spokesperson told internetnews.com that the company is also closing Yahoo Photos.

Beginning this summer, Yahoo will give users a choice of how to dissolve their Yahoo Photos accounts -- including ways to move photos to another service such as Flickr, Shutterfly, Kodak Gallery, Snapfish or Photobucket. Yahoo Photos users who choose to join Flickr will receive a free three-month subscription to Flickr Pro.