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Old 11-10-2005, 06:59 PM
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Default Ebay News: What's it worth? eBay lets users search prices

Posted By: DJ

Who is in? What do you guys think?

Online auctioneer eBay Inc. on Thursday introduced a new service that allows buyers and sellers to search the price history of any product on its electronic marketplace worldwide for up to 90 days

EBay Marketplace Research, as the new subscription service is known, gives buyers and sellers a view into millions of eBay listing, bidding, and pricing trends, in effect creating a constantly updated barometer of consumer shopping habits.

The paid service gives subscribers access to data, charts and graphs, that show the prices eBay's 168 million users have paid in any auction over the past several months, which gives consumers a powerful way to find baseline product prices.

"It does help you to get some idea of the true value of what you are selling," said Martin Pyykkonen, an analyst with brokerage Hoefer & Arnett in Boulder, Colorado.

"With research, the informed buyer is going to be able to say, 'The item is worth about this,"' agreed Hal Varian, an economist at the University of California's Haas School of Business.

Marketplace Research comes in three subscription levels, starting with a two-day pass for $2.99, a basic monthly service

for $9.99 and a professional package priced at $24.99 a month. The first two services show pricing data going back 60 days while the professional subscription -- aimed at power sellers -- has a 90-day pricing history and international market data.

Sellers can follow trends as they play out online, allowing them to adapt their sales strategies immediately.

Pyykkonen said the service will help eBay's core base of existing auctioneers. "Ebay needs to do everything they can to help the seller community" by bringing more sellers online and converting them into veteran "power sellers," Pyykkonen said.

Gartner Inc. analyst Allen Weiner said competition in the online auction market is heating up, both from start-ups and other major Internet players who are pushing their way into the classified advertising market, including Google Inc..

EBay is looking for ways to make it easier for new users to take part, Weiner said. "Part of the big mystery of online auctions is their inefficiency," he said. "By offering pricing history, eBay is making people's time online more efficient.

"A lot of people are very inexperienced and really have no idea about how to set prices," Weiner said.

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