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eBay goes after itself

Craiglist owner launches Craigslist rival

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eBay has challenged itself to a duel in the web classifieds market. Last week, the company that owns a 25 per cent share in Craigslist launched a Craigslist rival, unveiling a U.S. version of Kijiji, the classifieds site it's been running in various other parts of the world since early 2005.

eBay purchased a 25 per cent stake in the privately-held Craigslist back in August of 2004, beating out several other big-name suitors, said to include Yahoo! and Google. Then, in February of 2005, it turned around and launched Kijiji, a similar classifieds operation, in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, China, Japan, and Taiwan. Since then, the site has expanded into several other countries, with eBay claiming 17 million users in more than 300 cities.

eBay continues to play down its ownership of Kijiji, which means "village" in Swahili. The company refrained from formally announcing the U.S version of the service and did not return a phone call requesting comment. The new site doesn't include a single mention of its parent company.

Kijiji is immediately available in 220 American cities. The service is completely free, but an eBay spokesperson told CNet that the company may add display advertising or offer various premium services.®

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