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.

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