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Web auctions gear up for sales of unwanted gifts


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LOS ANGELES, California (Reuters) -- Didn't get what you wanted this holiday season? You aren't alone.

As Internet retailers put the wraps on what is shaping up to be their best year yet, Web bazaars like eBay Inc. are geared up for the great gift swap.

While the offline world of "regifting" is fraught with the potential of hurt feelings or other blunders of proper etiquette, online gift "recycling" promises profits to sellers looking to simply find good homes for ugly sweaters or other cast-off gifts.

On Thursday, eBay will launch its first ever week-long "Get What You Really Wanted" campaign that directs shoppers to various highlighted categories from jewelry to electronics.

Traditionally, eBay has seen listings of items for sale spike in early January as people return from their travels and begin recycling gifts, company spokeswoman Jennifer Caukin said.

"January tends to be a strong month due to post-holiday activity," she said.

Just up the road from eBay, Palo Alto, California-based LiveDeal.com this week began pitching itself as a venue for unloading unwanted gifts.

The start-up online auction house, which specializes in local trades, has seen listings rise throughout the month of December driven by holiday shoppers and gift exchange, founder and Chief Executive Rajesh Navar said.

"The number of items listed this month has doubled from last month" to 3,500, Navar said.

Listings on Craigslist.org -- a multi-city online community where users post personal ads, talk about common interests and peddle wares -- are also up for the dozens of cities involved.

Marcia Estarija, community relations manager for Craigslist said listings are up by 3,000 to 9,000, rivaling levels seen during the holiday shopping rush.



Copyright 2003 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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