June 22, 2010, 2:44 PM

Newspapers get into online auctions

Newcomer Boocoo Auctions aims to compete against eBay and Craigslist.

Zak Stambor

Managing Editor

Lead Photo

Classified advertising software vendor Ranger Data Technologies Inc. has joined with newspapers and TV outlets to launch Boocoo Auctions, a locally focused online auction site.

The site aims to compete against the likes of industry giants eBay Inc. and Craigslist Inc. by licensing ZIP codes to newspapers and broadcast outlets that then receive a share of the revenue generated from each transaction in their geographic areas. In turn, the media outlets agree to promote the site in broadcast, print and online.

At launch, the 282 media outlets, which include the Chicago Sun-Times, San Diego Union-Tribune and Boston Herald, cover more than 20% of the residential ZIP codes in the U.S.

Boocoo splits its revenue among both the outlet where the seller is based and the outlet where the buyer is based, and retains a share for itself. If the buyers and seller are in the same ZIP code the media outlet gets both shares.

The site charges charges sellers listing fees that range from 20 cents for items priced up to $9.99 to $1.60 for starting prices of more than $200. It also charges a 6% commission on sales.

Merchants can open a store on the site, which costs $10 a month. Shoppers can access store listings via a tab on the site’s main page.

When a shopper searches for an item, the site presents visitors with local listings first, followed by national listings. When a shopper searches for an item, listings are presented by the time remaining in the auction.

Boocoo’s auction focus stands in contrast to that of eBay, which is increasingly focused on selling items at a set price. “It’s great to see some innovation come to the online auction space,” says Scot Wingo, CEO of ChannelAdvisor Corp., which helps retailers sell through comparison shopping engines and online marketplaces. “EBay has been saying that consumers have lost their love of the format, preferring immediacy and convenience over fun and uniqueness, so it will be interesting to see if Boocoo can prove that wrong.”

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