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eBay to run auctions on Disney Web sites

The Internet auctioneer and Disney's Go Network sign a four-year agreement to create two co-branded auction sites, one featuring Disney and ESPN merchandise.

    In the universe of online auctions, it just may be a small world after all.

    eBay and Walt Disney Co.'s Go Network announced today that they have signed a four-year agreement to create two co-branded auction sites: a person-to-person site and a merchant-to-consumer site featuring Disney and ESPN merchandise.

    As part of the agreement, Disney will market the new site on its Go Network--which includes Disney.com, ABC.com and ESPN.com--and through its offline properties, including the ABC network, the Disney channel and Disney's theme parks. Financial terms of their deal were not released.

    "This agreement is critical to Go.com's new strategy of focusing our portal on entertainment, recreation and leisure activities," Steve Bornstein, Go.com chairman, said in a statement.

    "The combination of exclusive merchandise from across the Disney company, terrific distribution from the Go.com family of Web sites, Disney's unparalleled promotional capabilities, and eBay's vibrant online community should create a world-class online trading environment."

    The deal resembles an agreement eBay signed last year with America Online. As part of the AOL deal, eBay has created co-branded auction sites with AOL.com, CompuServe and other AOL brands. In addition, eBay is paying AOL $75 million, but it is not sharing any transaction fees from the co-branded auctions.

    Today's agreement marks See special report:
The high price of auctionsone of the first times that eBay has signed a formal agreement with a merchant to create merchant-to-consumer auctions on its site. Although eBay has set up separate sites to promote auctions by its Kruse International and Butterfield & Butterfield subsidiaries, most of the merchant auctions on the site are indistinguishable from the person-to-person auctions.

    The agreement also comes just four months after Go.com launched its own auction site. As part of today's agreement, Go.com's auctions will be folded into the new site.

    The person-to-person auction site will launch sometime in the second quarter, and the merchant site will debut soon after.