EBay Launches Kijiji Classifieds in U.S.

EBay Inc. launched its Kijiji International Ltd. classified advertising site in the U.S. Friday.

Previously available in countries including Russia, China, and India, the U.S. Kijiji site went live with little fanfare from its auction parent, which owns 25 percent of Kijiji's main U.S. rival, Craigslist.

Posting ads on the site is free, and unlike eBay, which can facilitate payment for transactions via its PayPal payment subsidiary, Kijiji plays no role in completing sales. However, it's easy to see how eBay could plug in both PayPal and Skype Ltd. telephony, which it also owns, into Kijiji to create a kind of supercharged classified site that Craigslist would then require outside partnerships to match.

Although it is offering classified ads for all 50 U.S. states, those placing ads must first choose a nearby city for classification, and that list is far from comprehensive. For example, New Jerseyans looking to sell their wares must classify them as being closest to Newark or Atlantic City -- not necessarily convenient choices for people residing elsewhere in the state.

Unlike its category-killing sibling companies PayPal and Skype, Kijiji, which means "village" in Swahili, is one of eBay's least-known brands since its 2005 launch, in part because it did not have a U.S. presence. The site gives no indication that it is an eBay property, offering no "About Us" link or corporate information. The Kijiji Canada site does however contain a link to eBay Canada. Its China site clearly displays an eBay logo at the bottom of the page.

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