RealTime IT News

eBay Ups the Scale

Online auction giant eBay, which got its start helping the hoi polloi sell stuff taking up space in the garage, signed a deal with renowned upscale auction house Sotheby's, a purveyor of fine and decorative art, antiques, rare books, jewelry and collectibles.

San Jose, Calif.-based eBay Inc. said the agreement will introduce Sothebys.com online auctions into the eBay marketplace by early summer. The new Sothebys site on eBay will be built and hosted by eBay.

Also, Sotheby's will adopt eBay's Live Auctions technology to enable real-time online bidding at a significant number of Sotheby's traditional auctions held in New York and London. The move will allow eBay users to participate in Sotheby's traditional auctions by bidding online in real time.

Joint marketing components of the deal include plans to promote Sothebys.com across both online and traditional media. Financial specifics were not disclosed.

Once launched, the new site will replace online auctions on Sothebys.com as well as eBay Premier (eBay's high-end arts, antiques and collectibles auction area), and will be accessible from both the eBay and Sotheby's sites. Sotheby's has operated its own online auction site for two years.

Selected eBay Premier dealers and Butterfields Auctioneers, a subsidiary of eBay, will become sellers of arts, antiques and collectibles on the new site.

"Sotheby's and eBay have complementary strengths," said Meg Whitman, president and CEO of eBay. "eBay has a vibrant global marketplace and a proven technology platform. Sotheby's offers outstanding art expertise and a network of worldwide dealers and auction houses..."