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eBay vs. Craigslist Courtroom Fisticuffs Start Today 129

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the grab-the-popcorn dept.
davekleiman writes with news that former eBay chief exec Meg Whitman took the stand today to kick off the battle that has been brewing between Craigslist and eBay. The waters are further clouded by Whitman's upcoming bid for governor of California. "eBay wants to shed light on the 'coercive plan' that it has said Newmark hatched with Craigslist Chief Executive Jim Buckmaster to dilute eBay's ownership stake, ultimately stripping eBay of its seat on the Craigslist board. Craigslist has hit back that eBay used its board seat to glean information to launch its own classified site, Kijiji. Craigslist also claims that eBay used deceptive tactics to direct traffic away from its site."
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eBay vs. Craigslist Courtroom Fisticuffs Start Today

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  • Re:Kijiji? (Score:3, Informative)

    by ArsonSmith (13997) on Monday December 07, 2009 @04:59PM (#30357676) Journal

    I was about to post a dupe of your post. Checked out Kijiji.com and there doesn't seem to be anything there???

    Epic failure indeed.

  • Re:Cross Ownership (Score:5, Informative)

    by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@@@hackish...org> on Monday December 07, 2009 @05:04PM (#30357738)

    It does happen in some industries, and the law on it is pretty complex and murky (and varies by country). When it's below a certain threshold, so the minority stake doesn't exercise control over the company, and has representation basically only to ensure its rights as a minority shareholder are respected, it's considered a "passive investment" and not subject to the usual antitrust scrutiny that would ensue if, say, eBay actually tried to buy Craigslist (or buy a stake considered controlling). A lot of economists are a bit skeptical of just how passive such passive investments are, though. The keywords +"passive investment" +competitors [google.com] bring up a whole pile of writing on the subject...

  • by brunes69 (86786) <slashdot&keirstead,org> on Monday December 07, 2009 @05:05PM (#30357752) Homepage

    Craigslist is big in large markets, but in small markets, no one uses it. Kijiji rules the roost in small markets.

    IE in my homedown, of about 100,000 people, there are less than 200 posts right now in craigslist ForSale section.

    Kijiji has over 24,000.

    It is because of the classic dillema that keeps users on Craigslist (despite it being a steamping pile of crap), and keeps people on eBay (despite them charging a fortune). People searching need a critical mass of people selling, and people selling need a critical mass of people searching. It is a self-renforcing monopoloy that is a tough nut to crack.

    Craigslist has always been unpopular in small markets, that is where Kijiji got its foothold.

  • Re:Cross Ownership (Score:5, Informative)

    by FooAtWFU (699187) on Monday December 07, 2009 @05:08PM (#30357788) Homepage
    They have a competitor on the board since the competitor elected itself to the board with all the shares which they bought. No one but this competitor is happy with this setup.
  • by Dan667 (564390) on Monday December 07, 2009 @05:11PM (#30357816)
    Craigslist was not selling ownership and ebay bought it from a former Craigslist Employee through a suspicious deal. After how ebay has made numerous decisions at the expense of their users it is hard to believe that they would complain when someone tries to correct something they should not have done in the first place.
  • Dirty Pool (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 07, 2009 @05:14PM (#30357844)

    This sounds like dirty pool all the way around.

    1). Decided to Create competing site
    2). Buy shares from a shareholder to gain a seat on the board
    3). (possibly) use information gleaned from meetings of the board towards own good
    4). (possibly) use seat on board to negatively influence decisions

    As others have mentioned there is certainly a conflict of interest here and while Ebay has every right to own shares, sitting on the board is just unethical and its surprising that the other shareholders would stand for it....

  • by Duhfus (960817) on Monday December 07, 2009 @05:26PM (#30357948)
    More specifically, a former executive at Craigslist (suspected to be Philip Knowlton), who owned a significant chunk of Craigslist stock, decided to sell his share and shopped around. This was how ebay got ownership: http://www.craigslist.org/about/press/ebay.stake/ [craigslist.org]
  • Re:Kijiji? (Score:4, Informative)

    by FrankSchwab (675585) on Monday December 07, 2009 @05:30PM (#30357994) Journal

    I live in Phoenix.

    Doing a quick and unscientific test, the Phoenix Kijiji site has 37 for-sale listings posted for Saturday, Sunday, and Today.

    The Phoenix Craigslist site has 1200 for-sale listings in the last 45 MINUTES.

    At least for my location, I think Kijiji qualifies as an "Epic failure".

  • by schon (31600) on Monday December 07, 2009 @05:34PM (#30358036)

    I can't actually find a specific small-town environment in which Kijiji actually has an advantage. Can anyone suggest a specific one?

    http://edmonton.en.craigslist.ca/ [craigslist.ca]
    http://edmonton.kijiji.ca/ [kijiji.ca]

    In every comparable category I've checked, Kijiji has more activity (usually by an order of magnitude.) For example "Computers" - Kijiji has 17 ads in the last hour, Craigslist has 3 for the whole day. (And that's not counting "Computer accessories" which only exists in Kijiji.) "Motorcycles" - Kijiji has 31 posts so far today, Craigslist has 3. "Furniture" - Kijiji has 27 posts in the last hour, Craigslist has 4 for the day.

    Every other category I've checked is similar.. Kijiji is just *way* more popular in Edmonton.

  • by SoTerrified (660807) on Monday December 07, 2009 @05:44PM (#30358130)
    Wonder if it's a Canada thing? I live in a Canadian city that has pretty similar stats to Edmonton. And likewise, Kijiji > Craigslist.
  • Re:Governor? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Knara (9377) on Monday December 07, 2009 @05:47PM (#30358156)
    Carly? Her business/government acumen were so bad that she not only ruined HP, but got booted from McCain's staff as an adviser.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 07, 2009 @05:51PM (#30358200)

    You are right. 28% share was sold by Mr. Knowlton. But why? He was disgruntled with the direction of where the other two founder's direction. Here read an article from Mercury News.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/top-stories/ci_13944966

    btw, The original 28% was diluted by CL to 25% in 2007. now, ebay has one a quarter of control.

  • Re:Kijiji? (Score:3, Informative)

    by HybridJeff (717521) on Monday December 07, 2009 @05:52PM (#30358204) Homepage
    Its a regional thing, apparently more people use Kijiji where my brother lives than Craigslist (Belleville, Ontario).
  • by voodoowizard (1557839) on Monday December 07, 2009 @05:55PM (#30358256)
    Wow, in my town of around 30,000 and the surrounding town where the sites actually point to(Total pop just over 100,000). There is nothing on kijiji. Craigslist dominates here for sure. When the site was launched I heard about it but soon forgot. Heck there is even an auction site based out of my town and I can't find anything on it, worse than kijiji here as far as users. Just my experiences, ya know, not scientific.
  • by Tubal-Cain (1289912) on Monday December 07, 2009 @06:03PM (#30358360) Journal
    IIRC, there are special exceptions for companies that are not publicly traded.
  • Re:Kijiji? (Score:3, Informative)

    by lytfyre (1518695) on Monday December 07, 2009 @06:05PM (#30358388)
    Kijiji is actually quite big in most of Ontario. As far as I've seen, Toronto is about the only place where Craigslist is bigger than Kijiji.
    This is really irritating, as Kijiji is stuffed with adertising, tries to upsell you for higher placement, etc. etc.
    not sure why it happened in the first place, but it's the state of things.
  • by BobMcD (601576) on Monday December 07, 2009 @06:32PM (#30358664)

    So if we have more Craigslist than Kijiji we get to call ourselves a big city? Woot!

    As of now the December 7th tallies in all of 'for sale' are roughly -

    Craigslist - 2100

    Kijiji - 4 (yes, four)

    Population - Roughly 450,000 for the entire multi-county area

Nothing is more admirable than the fortitude with which millionaires tolerate the disadvantages of their wealth. -- Nero Wolfe

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