The deal, which the company expects to announce within the next week, will add auction services to Cox Interactive's network of 30 local city sites. Like Microsoft Sidewalk and CitySearch, its sites provide localized content such as news, weather, and entertainment information. Cox Interactive is a subsidiary of media giant Cox Enterprises.
The Cox deal is one of a growing number of agreements between auction companies and content providers, for which auctions are becoming a threat to revenues from traditional classified advertising. As potential customers move to sell their goods on auction sites, revenues are snatched away from the content provider's classified advertising section.
To date, Bidder's Edge rival Auction Universe has forged deals with such online content providers as USA Today, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Los Angeles Times to merge classified advertising with auctions online.
Analysts said Cox Interactive is counting on Bidder's Edge to draw more traffic to Cox's e-commerce services, particularly because the person-to-person auction market is growing so quickly.
Research firm Gomez Advisors expects the consumer auction market to grow to $15.5 billion in 2001 from $1.57 billion in 1998.
Bidder's Edge plans to continue cutting cobranding deals with other popular Internet sites to drive more traffic. The cobranded Bidder's Edge/Cox sites are now available at several city sites, including San Francisco, Seattle, and Atlanta, with the rest coming on board by year's end.