Online auction company opens a U.S. Web site

EBid (www.eBid.net), the second largest online auction site in the United Kingdom, is ready to officially launch a U.S. auction site. As part of the U.S. kickoff, eBid is offering new customers a Lifetime Gold Membership for $79.99, the company said.

Lifetime Gold Members do not pay listing fees, final value fees, reserve price fees, and “BuyNow” fees. In addition, they will receive free eBid Stores service, the company said in a statement.

The official eBid U.S. launch, scheduled for Tuesday, follows an eight-month pilot program that attracted more than 10,000 U.S. buyers and sellers, the company said. Site enhancements suggested by these new members, such as new product categories and pricing structures, have been implemented prior to launch.

“We listen closely to our members and make every effort to add features that make for a better overall experience,” said Gary Sewell, co-founder and CEO of eBid. “We are adding over 600 new members daily and we consistently hear that the largest auction sites are more concerned with Wall Street’s expectations than their customers. Our zero listing fees and responsive customer service are what sets us apart.”

Jewelry and antiques among what eBid says are hundreds of thousands of auction items in over 3,500 product categories. The site’s search capability allows customers to find items in their region or peruse items globally. In addition to the U.K., the San Jose, Calif.-based company provides auction sites in Australia, Canada, and Ireland. It says it plans to launch sites in France, Spain, Italy, and Germany in the near future as part of its international rollout strategy.

If shoppers can’t find an item, eBid offers a feature that allows them to post a free “Wanted” ad and list the price they are willing to pay. Sellers then bid to meet the shoppers’ requirements with the best price.

eBid offers Escrow and Instant online payments through its secure PPPay.com service. Transactions can be made in U.S. dollars, U.K. pounds, and Euros from credit or debit cards. PPPay.com Escrow holds money on a buyer’s behalf until items are received and inspected. Alternatively, PPPay.com Instant securely and instantly transfers payments.