EBay to take bids for radio spots


SAN FRANCISCO -- EBay Inc. will begin taking bids for radio advertisements starting Wednesday as the online auction leader tries to expand into offline ads.

EBay will partner with privately held Bid4Spots Inc., an Encino-based startup hosting weekly online auctions of radio airtime since January 2005. The agreement means advertisers can bid on eBay for commercial time on more than 2,300 Internet and terrestrial radio stations.

The auctions -- mostly for last-minute ad spots -- will take place on eBay Media Marketplace, which also brokers cable-television ads. eBay gets a commission for every dollar spent on ad buys.

The offline advertising push is one of several areas where San Jose-based eBay is going head to head against Google Inc. The Mountain View-based search leader announced in April it would sell ads on hundreds of stations owned by Clear Channel Communications Inc.

EBay and Google already compete on electronic transaction services; eBay's stock has flagged recently in part because Wall Street fears the company's PayPal service will lose customers to Google Checkout.

Google searches on many common consumer products return numerous eBay listings -- a frustration for the auction company, which would like to own the customer experience from the outset and not rely on referrals from a company that is increasingly seen as a threat.

EBay shares fell 85 cents, or 2.6%, to $31.69 Tuesday.