eBay (Nasdaq:EBAY) has taken the decision to allow free auction listings for all US users of its internet auction services from March 30th this year, according to a statement issued by eBay on 26th January 2010.
The move, which will begin in conjunction with “3 cent listings” for fixed price selling on the site, is sure to send huge ripples through the world of online marketing: listing fees having previously provided the upfront barrier for many eBay sellers.
Taking listings free may well be a response from eBay to erosion of its previous dominance of the online auction and sales market: many retailers set up their own online shops and stores while private sellers list items using, among other things, free Facebook apps, or classifieds on social networks.
The popularity – and additional revenue streams – offered by eBay’s recently acquired Gumtree and Kijiji free classifieds sites could also be a key factor behind the decision: the success of these sites perhaps paving the way for this bold move.
Whether or not this model proves to be a success in bringing more products to eBay USA will likely seal its fate for the rest of the company’s world-wide properties, though it has to be seen as likely that this model will be rolled out across most markets over the coming 12 to 18 months.