EBay drops Web-based ad sales

System received little support from the cable industry

NEW YORK -- EBay has shuttered its Internet-based system for buying and selling TV and radio ads.

The system, up and running for slightly more than a year, received little support from the cable industry, which eBay hoped would contribute significant amounts of inventory. But the networks by and large stayed away, fearing it would cheapen the value of their ads.

The Cable Television Advertising Bureau, the trade group representing the sales groups of most of the big cable networks, did not endorse the system, and few of its members participated. Among the few networks that tested it were Oxygen and Ion.

Execs at eBay believed part of the problem was that the marketplace remained confused about how its cable ad system worked. While it often was referred to as an auction, it actually was an electronic RFP system where buyers could issue requests for packages of time specifying their precise needs. Sellers could respond and a negotiation would ensue, via the system, until a deal was concluded.

In October, execs said they were "disappointed by the lack of broad engagement by cable networks. This has caused the initial testing to be slower than expected."