As top Web auction sites around the country vie for
prominence in the national online arena, at least one MSO is encouraging its subscribers
to buy and sell locally those products that may be too tough to deal with on a national
Earlier this summer, Comcast Corp.'s Comcast Online
Communications launched an online auction site called "Sold!" on its 26 city
guides located at www.InYourTown.com. The guides are accessible to dial-up Internet
users, as well as to Comcast@Home broadband customers.
One New Jersey subscriber recently auctioned off his boat
online to a New Jersey buyer, according to Keith Phillips, manager of Web development for
Comcast Online's In Your Town. "It would have been ridiculous to try to ship a
[$3,000] boat cross-country to California," he said, adding that people enjoy doing
business in their own communities.
Through a partnership with FairMarket AuctionPlace,
Comcast's Sold! site also showcases national auctions.
Consumers are alerted to the auction site through banner
ads on the Comcast@Home and In Your Town Web sites. In June, the company offered free
listings and transaction fees for the first two weeks of the launch, which attracted quite
a few sellers.
To create more awareness of the Sold! site, Comcast Online
plans to promote the service with a celebrity sports auction, donating the proceeds to
charity, Phillips said.
Comcast's home page has just begun to reach the critical
mass to support the auction site and other e-commerce services, he said. Comcast Online
plans to help local merchants in its 26 markets to build online stores for the company's
Consumers who visit the site through traditional dial-up
services have no competitive disadvantages when bidding at auction, Phillips said, adding
that broadband customers have an easier time browsing through the various auctions,
especially when there are pictures to be downloaded.
Comcast@Home's always-on feature also gives auction fans
easier access to e-mail alerts about auctions of particular interest to them, Phillips
Comcast Online adds at least one major feature to its In
Your Town site each quarter, with an emphasis on locally produced content.