Sotheby's and Amazon Abandon Co-Branded Site

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Internet retailer Amazon.com Inc. and upscale auctioneer Sotheby's have abandoned attempts to maintain their sothebys.amazon.com joint effort.


In an announcement made this week, Sotheby's said the co-branded site would be absorbed within the Sothebys.com site. The merger, which requires Amazon to be paid in cash each year, will take place in the next 30 days.


"It's not a disbanding of a relationship with Amazon," said Patty Fox, spokeswoman for Sotheby's in New York. "I mean, they're still in this. It just became clear that one marketplace makes so much more sense than two."


Targeting new collectors, sothebys.amazon.com sold stamps, coins, dolls, and sports and Hollywood memorabilia. Sothebys.com sells traditional fine arts and antiques that are more big-ticket in nature.


Under terms of the realignment, bidders and sellers will still be able to access all of the categories from the co-branded site on Sothebys.com or from a Sothebys.com window on the auctions page at Amazon.com.


Sothebys.com will remain Amazon's exclusive online auction aggregator for authenticated fine arts, antiques and collectibles. And Amazon will place Sothebys.com prominently on its site and will promote the auctioneer to its customers.


Between Sothebys.com and sothebys.amazon.com, the two sites sold more than 60,000 works of antiques, arts and collectibles in only 10 months.


In addition to the economics of maintaining two sites, the merger was based on customer feedback as well, according to Sotheby's.


"It's really a natural evolution of our business," Fox said. "We found their customers were buying across several different categories and looking for property within different categories, and to provide all of that in one location really makes a lot of sense."
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