eBay Inks Deal with Appraisal Service

eBay said Monday it struck a partnership with Eppraisals.com to give members of the auction community access to professional appraisers in the art and antiques categories.

The deal, which will integrate Chicago, Illinois-based Eppraisals’ services into the eBay product offerings, will help take the guesswork out of pricing high-end items for auction, said eBay chief operating officer Brian Swette.

Swette said eBay users will get “access to a network of qualified experts who will provide objective and comprehensive third party evaluations.”

Once an appraisal has been completed, sellers will be able to display digital appraisal certificates alongside their sale items.

Confidence Game

“Sellers can merchandise their items more accurately and buyers can make better-informed purchasing decisions,” said Eppraisals chairperson Leslie Hindman.

For example, buyers can use Eppraisals to get a second opinion and determine if an item is worth its asking price. Hindman also said the appraisals would provide “credibility for the seller and confidence for the buyer.”

The companies did not disclose what fees would be charged for using the service, which is initially being aimed at eBay’s high-end auction categories, including fine art and antiques. The Internet auctioneer has a section called eBay Premier where fine art items are sold.

Talk is Cheap

Eppraisals uses a network of 750 specialists to research and price items for auction. The site also produces collection-related content on its home site.

Under the deal, eBay will occasionally host chats and other events featuring professional appraisers from Eppraisals.

Although a fee schedule was not disclosed, Eppraisals currently charges US$20 for an online appraisal.

The new eBay service is the latest in a series of changes and upgrades that eBay has unveiled in recent months. eBay is working to solidify its position as the leading auction site and attract new customers while at the same time generating additional revenue.

Constant Changes

Since December, eBay has rolled out a new fee schedule, changed its policies on the sale of copyrighted works and tightened rules on e-mails between buyers and sellers.

Many of the moves, including a plan to integrate a boxed software program into the site and charge a monthly fee for using it, have ruffled eBay users.

Overall, however, eBay appears to be gaining on the losses suffered by Yahoo! auctions, which has seen a steep drop in auction listing volume since it stopped offering free listings earlier this year.

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