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eBay crafts deal for handmade goods

The auction giant signs a one-year deal with OneMade, which has set up a page on eBay for people to sell handcraft jewelry, ceramics and other one-of-a-kind goods.

    Already known for collectibles, eBay is now going after the market for one-of-a-kind goods.

    The San Jose, Calif.-based online auction company has signed a one-year deal with Boston-based OneMade, which helps artisans sell handcraft jewelry, ceramics and woodwork through its site and others. As part of the deal, OneMade has set up an "Artisans Showcase" page on eBay and will be screening sellers to offer their wares through it.

    The deal will allow eBay to offer more artisan goods and will draw higher-quality and higher-priced items to the site, said Michelle McHugh, director of client services at OneMade. "Basically, this is an arrangement to help both parties--our sellers and eBay," she said.

    eBay representatives did not return calls seeking comment. But in a note on the company's announcements page, eBay said it is "pleased" with the new deal.

    "This page provides the eBay community with access to unique and unusual one-of-a-kind handmade products from artisans around the world," the company told members in the note. "We hope that you enjoy this new area."

    The deal with OneMade is only the latest expansion by eBay. Earlier this year, the company announced a deal with eLance to offer services such as Web site development and graphics design on eBay. And last fall, the company opened a virtual antiques mall in partnership with Tias.com.

    Among the featured sellers in the artisan area is Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, R-Colo. Although Campbell does not have any items listed on eBay, he has several jewelry pieces, such as a $900 silver bracelet, listed on OneMade.

    Another featured seller is eZiba.com, which sells handcraft goods through its own site and is backed by eBay rival Amazon.com. eZiba has some 20 items listed on eBay, including a leather-topped stool from Kenya and a decorated mask from Brazil's Amazon region.

    The items listed on eBay are a sample of the items on eZiba's site and are part of an effort to introduce eBay customers to eZiba, company Chief Executive Bill Miller said. eZiba sees no conflict of interest between its relationship with Amazon and selling items on eBay, he said.

    Amazon has "scaled back their operations," Miller said. "This presents us with the opportunity to work with eBay."

    As part of its deal with eBay, OneMade has solicited sellers to offer goods in the showcase, McHugh said. To participate, sellers must commit to listing an average of 25 items at a time and have an average sale price of at least $85, she said. In addition, sellers have to sell 47 percent of the items they list, which is the average sell-through rate of collectibles on eBay, she said.

    OneMade will be closing its own auction listings, but will continue to allow sellers to offer items at fixed prices on its site, McHugh said. The company is offering image hosting and sales management tools for artists who want to sell items on eBay and other sites, she said.

    OneMade is charging its partners for featured placement on the showcase page but is not sharing that revenue with eBay, McHugh said.