A FairMarket for new auction tool

A new player in online auctions has landed on the Australian marketplace, and it won't be selling a thing! Boston-based FairMarket last week launched its new Australian subsidiary with offices in North Sydney and a new hosting centre at the Optus facility in Rosebury.

The new Australian managing director, Belinda York, said the company focuses on enablement and hosting for other auction sites, rather than selling goods and services.

"We started life as a destination auction site ourselves, but we quickly realised the technology we had built was more significant than the site itself," York said. "We elected to help others to build auction sites instead."

FairMarket aims to provide the technology, infrastructure and services for companies to have privately branded auction and e-commerce sites. The company unofficially entered the Australian marketplace in October last year with the launch of News Interactive's goFish.com, which now features products from more than 120 established merchants.

"We've made a significant investment with the data centre here. The first stage is to engage the portals in Australia - that underpins the whole model. Then we've got a viable story to bring the retailers online, because we've got that wide reach," York said.

The two success factors for online auctions are maximum reach and the quality and quantity of merchandise, according to York.

FairMarket Network merchant and community networks are connected through a single database of goods and services. For example, the US FairMarket Network includes Excite, Lycos, MSN and Dell, so a customer looking for a Dell computer in an auction on MSN, Excite or Lycos will automatically see merchandise available from the Dell auction site, as well as person-to-person auction listings from other FairMarket Network sites.

The sites are FairMarket-enabled but privately branded, so community portals can have a fully functional auction service on their site without having their visitors click through to another page, and consumers can use any of the member portal auction sites to buy and sell across the FairMarket network.

FairMarket solutions include AuctionPlace, a traditional online auction service, AutoMarkdown, a falling price clearance service, and Request It!, a shopping by request service that matches buyers with sellers.

FairMarket: (02) 9957 6388

www.fairmarket.com

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