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Press in online auction business

by MIKE PATRICK
Staff Writer | June 10, 2010 9:00 PM

COEUR d'ALENE - Craigslist and eBay, say boo-hoo.

Here comes Boocoo.

Starting Monday, a partnership including the Coeur d'Alene Press, Ranger Data Technologies Inc. and 300 additional newspapers and broadcasters is offering an alternative to eBay and other national e-commerce transaction sites. It's called Boocoo.com, an online auction house.

Each partner will promote the website to help generate inventory, traffic and sales, said Mike Alexander, online manager of The Press.

"One of the big things is eBay and Craigslist grew and built storefronts, rather than just serve as a good facilitator for people wanting to buy and sell goods," Alexander said. "Their sites are incredibly complex and expensive. A real advantage we have is that ours isn't overwhelming; it's simple. We bring buyers and sellers together and, from a software point of view, make the transaction process easy for everybody."

Alexander also said Craigslist is full of "bogus offers and fraudulent appeals."

"We're going to work really hard to maintain the trust our readers have in us," he said.

Ultimately, Alexander said, newspapers and their customers will benefit.

"It makes me nervous when you have these conglomerate websites that own the entire marketplace," he said. "Free enterprise and the competition it brings will make everybody better. Most of all, it will benefit the customer."

On June 14, Boocoo.com will first be activated for the Coeur d'Alene Press at cdapressEXTRA.com and at cdapress.com. Starting Monday, Press online readers can access the site by clicking on the Classifieds tab and scrolling down to Boocoo Auctions.

A week later the site will be introduced nationally. As a special promotion, Press subscribers and viewers may receive a user name and password that will allow access and waived transaction fees for a week prior to the June 21 national launch, when the normal 40 cent transaction fee will be waived for all consumers for a minimum of two weeks.

Alexander said any reader of The Press, online or in print, qualifies for the free period as "friends and family" of the newspaper. E-mail him at malexander@cdapress.com to ensure you receive the free trial period.

Ranger Data Technologies, an 11-year-old Royal Oak, Mich.-based company, was founded by George Willard Sr., a former newspaper publisher who has joined forces with Kip Knight, a former marketing executive with eBay North America.

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