A small company in Woburn, Mass., called FairMarket is set to unveil an auction system that will coordinate listings and bids across a hundred online services, including those run by biggies like Microsoft, Dell, Lycos, Excite@Home and Earthlink. Microsoft, Excite@Home and Ticketmaster-City Search are getting a piece of FairMarket as part of their participation. MORE >>
How big is eBay? The 3 million auctions taking place at any given time on the site appear to be twice that of the rest of the web auctions combined. Despite eBay's series of nasty crashes, it's a lead that just keeps getting bigger as the growing variety of listed items attracts more buyers, which in turns attracts more sellers. How to fight the network effect, a rule that says networks –- be they made up of fax machines, e-mail or online auctions –- become exponentially more useful with more users? The answer is simple –- with a network.