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eBay Open Classifieds Site Kijiji in U.S.

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eBay has quietly launched in international classified site Kijiji in U.S., in an attempt to compete against Craigslist and others, reports WSJ. Kijiji was launched overseas in February 2005, and until now, was available in certain countries in Europe and Asia, as well as in Canada, but not in the U.S.

The look and feel of the site is similar to Craigslist, and even the categories in there. For now, anyone can post an ad for free, though the company plans to explore charging for display ads or premium services for sellers. eBay in 2004 bought close to a 25 percent stake in Craigslist from a former Craigslist employee.

The auction site also owns other international classifieds sites, including in the Netherlands, Loquo in Spain and Gumtree in England, Australia and New Zealand, and the company said it plans to look into expanding those sites into the U.S. as well, though I am not sure why multiple brands are needed for doing essentially the same thing.

NYT: eBay said it was planning to keep its stake in Craigslist. Also, strangely, there are no plans to direct eBay traffic to Kijiji. Craigslist CEO Buckmaster said that because of Craigslist’s public service mission and disinterest in things like “market share and revenue maximization,” the company doesn’t really care who hops into the classified business.