uBid Adds Some uFees

New CEOs usually take a hard look at bottom lines, and apparently that’s just
what Christian Feuer has done at uBid, as the alternative auction site is
moving to impose listing fees on its consumer auctions.


Chicago-based uBid named Spiegel
Catalog Inc. executive Feuer
to the top job in May.


uBid, a majority-owned
operating company of CMGI. , tried to put a happy face on
the move, saying that “the new fee structure is designed to provide sellers
with a less expensive alternative to other auction providers such as eBay,
while improving both the quality and quantity of uBid’s consumer-to-consumer
auction listings.”


“Launching Consumer Exchange without listing fees helped us to establish and
grow a dynamic consumer-to-consumer community…” said Feuer in a statement.
“We believe the time is now right to evolve the marketplace with a reasonable
fee structure that also helps to improve both
the volume and relevance of the auction listings.”


Feuer went on to say that the company’s uBid Direct service of
business-to-consumer auctions will allow it to “keep the new fees at a level
which is still … cost-effective for our members, while generating new
revenues to fund …expansion…”


uBid’s B2C auctions feature a rotating selection of more than 12,000 brand
name products, including Compaq, Hewlett Packard, Toshiba, Sony and Micron.


For its consumer to consumer auctions, uBid said that starting Friday it will
charge listing fees of 5 to 75 cents per item plus commission fees starting
at 5 percent. Those are numbers carefully calculated to be less than eBay’s
fees, as uBid clearly doesn’t want a panicked rush to the exits by its
sellers.


uBid said that eBay is currently charging sellers between
30 cents and $3.30 to list an item for auction plus commission fees starting
at 5.25 percent. eBay spokesman Kevin Pursglove said those fee ranges are
accurate.


Asked if uBid was even on eBay’s radar screen, Pursglove said: “Yes, they are
among the competitors in this space (which actually extends to retailers and
wholesalers, online and off-line).


Internet portal Yahoo restructured
its auction fee schedule
last November, after introducing listing
fees in January of 2000
– a move that prompted a mass exodus of sellers.


uBid, which claims to have more than 3 million registered users, was founded
in April 1997 as a division of Creative Computers, a U.S. catalog retailer.
eBay has about 48 million registered users.

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