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eBay Ends Auction for America

Online auction leader eBay has quietly ended its much publicized Auction for America, launched as a charitable mechanism to raise $100 million in 100 days for the families of those who died Sept. 11.

Demonstrating that even the Internet has some limits in terms of fund-raising, the effort came up well short of the goal despite a move in November to shore it up by enlisting a new round of corporate sponsors, including Microsoft, Pepsi and AOL Time Warner.

All told, the Auction for America effort ended up raising about $7 million for various charities, according to an eBay spokesman.

There's no doubt the motivation was pure, but eBay certainly took on a gargantuan task when it launched its relief effort, saying at the time that it had "challenged itself," through its community of 34 million registered users, to raise $100 million in 100 days.

When the Auction for America was launched last September, the company said it was responding to a call for help from New York Gov. George Pataki and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

Now, eBay has quietly posted a message in its announcements section, saying that "through the collective efforts of eBay sellers and buyers, millions of dollars have been raised to help those who need it most."

Although the announcement did not mention exactly how many millions were raised, eBay spokesman Kevin Pursglove told InternetNews.com that "the eBay community has contributed about $7 million through the Auction for America."

The posted announcement said that "Until this point, items pertaining to the World Trade Center or the Pentagon were allowed on eBay only in Auction for America. Beginning December 26th, you may list any World Trade Center or Pentagon item, as long as the listing adheres to our Offensive Items policy."

Listings submitted on or before the Dec. 25 end of the Auction for America program will continue to run for the duration of the listing.