September 13, 2000 12:25 PM PDT

eBay to tout popular page counters on its site

eBay will promote to its sellers the page counters of auction service site Andale under a deal announced today.

As previously reported, the deal marks one of the first times the leading online auction house has teamed with one of the auction service sites. Andale's counters, offered by its recently acquired Honesty.com division, track the number of times buyers view a particular auction listing and have proved popular with eBay sellers.

About 1.7 million eBay listings use Honesty.com counters, said Andale chief executive Munjal Shah. Shah said he expects that number to double as a result of the deal, which will go into effect Sept. 25.

"We believe counters are the gateway service," Shah said. "They introduce you to the merchants that will have the desire to consume other auction management services."

Shah declined to give the financial details of the deal, saying only that the agreement was "mutually beneficial," with the net cash flow from it being "equal." eBay representatives did not immediately respond to calls.

Andale's deal with eBay comes two months after Andale merged with Honesty.com. Andale offers services such as image hosting for auction items and premade templates that help sellers list items for sale. Unlike its counters, which it offers free, Andale charges transaction fees for many of its other services.

Andale's counters will be integrated into eBay's "Sell Your Item" area as part of a three-year deal between the two companies. Sellers will be able to get the counters, which are already available directly through Honesty.com and Andale, for free from any of the three sites.

Andale is one of a number of auction service sites that has sprouted up as online auctions have become more popular. Andale's competitors include AuctionWatch.com, GoTo Auctions and Auctionworks.

San Jose, Calif.-based eBay offers a number of similar services for its members and has increasingly sought partners to broaden its offerings. Earlier this year, the company teamed with banking giant Wells Fargo to launch Billpoint, an online person-to-person payment system. Internet Pictures will soon host auction images for eBay sellers for free under a deal announced in April.

eBay has had a rocky relationship with many of the auction service companies. The company sued Bidder's Edge last year, charging that Bidder's Edge's auction search illegally trespassed on eBay's site, violated its copyright and trademarks, and slowed its service for members. Ruling in eBay's favor, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction against Bidder's Edge's service.

eBay has also jousted with AuctionWatch over a similar auction search service.

"eBay's not been super-friendly to this whole class of companies," Shah said. "So this is a real shift."

 

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