Web Watch

Virtual Storefronts Are Rent-Free on LiveDeal

By Leslie Walker
The Washington Post
Sunday, November 21, 2004

A locally focused Web marketplace called LiveDeal made its official debut last week, offering "free for life" storefronts to sellers and the ability to list anything for sale or rent at no cost. The site (http://www.livedeal.com/) is one of many Internet ventures exploring new ways to make money from local commerce.

LiveDeal has been in testing for much of the past year and appears to be gaining traction: It drew 516,000 visitors in October, according to ComScore Networks Inc.

Part of the attraction is that LiveDeal charges nothing to list items and collects its 5 percent commission on completed sales only if sellers offer a "buy now" fixed price and bill via PayPal. Sellers who list something and simply invite offers can negotiate directly with buyers and avoid fees. Aside from PayPal, people can also meet in person and pay however they like.

"We bring the best of Craigslist and eBay into one site," said Rajesh Navar, the founder and a former eBay engineer.

Craigslist, another site focused on local commerce, also offers free listings in many categories, including apartment rentals, job openings and services. But Navar noted that Craigslist operates only in big cities -- about 65 so far -- while LiveDeal is available nationwide. Moreover, LiveDeal offers sophisticated listing and browsing tools resembling those of eBay, only without eBay's auction formats.

Navar said LiveDeal is aimed partly at the market for big, bulky items that are expensive to ship. When users provide a Zip code, LiveDeal presents a highly localized view of items for sale. So far, 120,000 sellers have registered at the site; more than 100,000 items are currently listed for sale. Like eBay, LiveDeal lets sellers create electronic storefronts. While eBay's cost money, LiveDeal's are free so long as the seller maintains 10 items for sale every month.

Yahoo Gets Personal


Web-Mail Inboxes Inflate

Yahoo's oldest competitor, Microsoft Corp.'s Hotmail, announced last summer that it would raise its storage limits to 250 megabytes and is completing that upgrade now -- but not without a glitch. Some subscribers to Hotmail's extra-storage plan saw a bizarre text message, quoting a line from the movie "Gladiator," when they signed on Wednesday. The quote was soon removed, while Microsoft apologized for the "inconvenience" in a statement.



E-mail Leslie Walker at walkerl@washpost.com.

© 2004 The Washington Post Company