Yahoo! Launches Auctions in Germany

Although it still appears as if eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY) is the clear leader in online auctions, Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) is making a big push to grab a piece of the international market. Today, Yahoo! announced that Yahoo! Germany has launched a German version of Yahoo!’s auction service.

The service provides sellers with a vehicle to market items in many different currencies, including German marks, U.S. dollars, Euro dollars, Swiss francs and Austrian shillings. Unlike eBay, all services are free. There are no fees for listings or commissions.

The service is designed for individuals, as well as small businesses.

“With Yahoo! Germany Auctions, German speakers around the world now have an online marketplace to easily sell their products, grow their businesses and reach a targeted audience of interested buyers,” said Jim McCarthy, international commerce producer at Yahoo!.

Worldwide Expansion for Auctions

This expansion follows Yahoo!’s recent launches of auction services in other countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom and Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. The auction service could also expand to other nations. Yahoo! has offices in Europe, Asia, South America, Canada and the United States.

Yahoo!’s auction service was first launched in the United States last September. The service offers more than 3,000 categories including antiques and collectibles, toys and games, arts and entertainment, electronics, computers, and home and garden.

Charity Auctions Promote Launch

Yahoo! Germany Auctions will be promoted on Antenne Bayern, Germany’s leading private radio-station. During evening shows, the radio hosts will use Yahoo!’s new service to auction off autographed collectibles and personal items donated by celebrities who work for the radio station. All the proceeds from the actions will be donated to a non-profit society.

Yahoo! is counting on the radio promotion and the new auction service to drive new traffic to its site. Rather than relying on commissions for revenues, Yahoo!’s primary goal is to turn itself into a “stickier” site, one that users spend lots of time on. eBay is one of the stickiest sites on the Web.

Keith E. Benjamin, managing director and senior Internet analyst at BancBoston Robertson Stephens, says Yahoo! already reaches almost everybody who uses the Web, and the challenge for Yahoo! is keeping people on their site. Benjamin believes Yahoo! may be able to do this with expansion and acquisitions, and that Yahoo!’s recent strong quarter is an encouraging sign.

“It’s enough to make me keep believing in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness on the Internet, Benjamin said.

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