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Yahoo hits the pavement with auctions promotion

The giant portal puts a computer kiosk in front of the famed Macy's Herald Square store in New York to allow passerby to bid on designer gowns.

Yahoo wedded sidewalks with computers today--throwing in a couple of supermodels--to put its own twist on the catch-phrase "brick-and-clicks.

Yahoo stationed a computer kiosk on New York City's 34th street in front of the Macy's Herald Square store window to allow passerby to bid on any of the 90 designer gowns being sold on Yahoo Auctions. The dresses were on display in Macy's store window only a few feet away.

"This gives auctioneers a new ways to interact with Yahoo auctions," said Yahoo brand marketing manager Linda Bennett. "This is a chance for customers to bid on something they see and also a chance to take it home with them."

Yahoo joined forces with Macy's and NYC 2000, a group created by the city to promote its millennium celebrations, to auction off the designer gowns, which were donned by models during a high profile fashion show held last year to raise funds for New York City public schools.

The unique sidewalk sale is also part of Yahoo's campaign to make up ground on auction powerhouse eBay. Since launching in 1998, Yahoo has risen to second place in online auctions, but analysts believe that eBay, which claims 12 million users, is far ahead of its competitors.Yahoo and Amazon don't disclose the number of users of their auction sites but analysts estimate that they run a distant second and third respectively.

Gomez Advisors projects that consumer spending on online auctions will grow from $4 billion spent last year to more than $15 billion by 2002.

At the window display today, New Yorkers strolled past the dresses once worn by Kylie Bax, Esther Canadas, and Heidi Klum, some logging on and bidding as they viewed the specially designed 50-inch computer monitor, built for the display. Two supermodels also strolled by the kiosk this afternoon. As of midday, a check of Yahoo Auctions showed the items were fetching bids in the low hundreds.