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Amazon.com Goes for the Hammer

Amazon.com (www.amazon.com), Seattle, will increase the categories of products it offers customers with the launch this week of its online auction site.

“Our long-term vision for this is to become the leading destination for e-commerce,” said Bill Curry, spokesman for Amazon.com. “We want to help people find and discover anything they want to buy on the Web. And to do that we clearly have to offer them more than just books, videos and music.”

Participants can currently buy and sell products in more than 800 categories, including antique scientific instruments, duck stamps, animation art, Star Wars trading cards, Madame Alexander dolls, depression glass, vintage clothing and digital cameras. One of the innovations of the Amazon.com auction site is that sellers will have their auctions cross-merchandised on Amazon.com’s millions of book, CD and video product pages.

“This means that if you have a collection of Elvis records that you are looking to sell they will show up on the video page for, “Love Me Tender,” DVD pages or on book pages where you can find books on Elvis Presley,” Curry said.

He said this expansion also fits in well with the recent investments Amazon.com has made with Drugstore.com and pets.com.

The site was launched last Tuesday, but Curry said the company would not reveal any numbers that would indicate the amount of traffic and business that has been taking place at the site.

Anyone with Web access can take part in the auctions by either bidding or putting a product up for bid. Amazon.com charges a listing fee determined by the minimum bid put in by an auctioneer for his auction.

To help promote the auctions, Amazon.com will award all first-time winning bidders a $10 Amazon.com gift certificate from now until June 30. The gift certificates are redeemable in Amazon.com’s book, music, video and gift stores.

Amazon.com also is taking steps to ensure that bidders get what they pay for. The Amazon.com Auctions guarantee covers purchases of up to $250 should a buyer not receive what he was promised. Other measures include a community-wide rating and feedback system.

Some of the items currently available for auction are: a rare red-vinyl pressing of the Beatles’ “White Album,” an original painting by Andy Warhol on Rebel Without a Cause (James Dean) and a 1937 edition of the book “Gone with the Wind” signed by Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh. n

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