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Playboy to add auctions

The adult entertainment company plans to jump into the online auction business, teaming up with auction technology provider FairMarket.

Playboy plans to jump into the online auction business, teaming up with auction technology provider FairMarket.

Set to launch December 1, the service will include auctions from both Net users and Playboy itself. The adult entertainment company intends to offer items such as autographed books and limited-edition photographs, the company said in a statement likely to be released tomorrow.

"We're constantly contacted by collectors and fans about Playboy memorabilia they have collected," Playboy chief executive Christie Hefner said in the release. "Playboy auctions will give them a way to sell and trade these mementos within Playboy Online, as well as allow the company to offer new, personalized merchandise."

Playboy's latest move to increase its online presence follows plans announced in September to spin off its online unit in an initial public offering. In recent months, Playboy also has added interactive sports games and gourmet food sales to its subscription-only adult pictures and chat rooms.

The company joins a growing number of sites hoping to grab a piece of the bursting online auction pie. Last month, the Go Network launched its own auction site. In September, Microsoft Network entered the auction business as part of the FairMarket network, along with Dell Computer, Lycos, and Excite@Home.

FairMarket network members share their listings across their sites. It's unclear whether Playboy's site will be part of that network.

Gomez Advisors projects that the consumer auction market will grow from $1.57 billion in 1998 to $15.5 billion in 2001.

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