January 19, 2001, 12:00 AM

Judge Says No More Crawling

Don Davis

Editor in Chief

A California Judge ruled that auction aggregator Bidder's Edge Inc. cannot use spiders or bots to search auction giant eBay Inc.. But James Carney, president and CEO of Bidder's Edge, says the comapny will still offer the same search services to its customers even after the injunction goes into effect June 8. "The judge says we cannot crawl or user robots but there are other means," says Carney, who would not elaborate on how Bidder's Edge would perform the searches. California Northern District Court Judge Ronald Whyte announced his decision Wednesday. Whyte ruled that Bidder's Edge was trespassing on eBay's site and causing unnecessary drag on its computer systems. Bidder's Edge is appealing Whyte's decision and asking the court for a stay of the injunction. A ruling from the appellate court is expected late in the week of May 29. "The judicial systems need guidance on this issue and hopefully the appellate court will offer some guidance," says Carney. EBay claims Bidder's Edge's spider trespassed whenever it searched its site and the San Jose auction giant wants aggregators to get permission before spidering. In February Bidder's Edge filed a countersuit against eBay on antitrust grounds and the U.S. Justice Department is reportedly investigating eBay for antitrust violations.

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