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Angie’s List, where you can find out if your house painter knows their way around a ladder, is getting a high-profile competitor. From eBay, no less, where finding value has become an art.

The new local service marketplace, eBay Hire, has launched a U.S. beta pilot that is currently open only to service providers as it builds up its supply of services. The company is integrating Hire into its general ecosystem, so that a provider’s profile can be shown on relevant product search results. A freelance soccer coach, for instance, could be featured in an eBay Hire sidebar when one searches on the site for “soccer gear.”

During this beta period, no fees or commissions will be charged to providers, but once the promotional period is up, the company said the fee structure will resemble the fees charged for listing and/or selling on eBay.

Beyond carpenters

The service has already been launched in the U.K., where you can find people who specialized in deliveries, upholstery, wedding photography, gardening, personal training, valuing of collectibles or music teaching, as well as old standbys like handyman-ing and plumbing.

If the U.K. version is any indication, a user in need of, say, a carpenter will find a provider, complete and send an online form with the particulars of the project, and the provider will respond via email or phone with a quote. Financial arrangements are made directly with the provider.

Just as eBay began by helping you sell old things you found in the attic and has now blossomed into a marketplace where you can buy, say, a F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet or the original Hollywood sign, there’s no reason to believe eBay will draw the line around carpenters and plumbers. After all, this is eBay, not Home Depot. Perhaps eBay will decide that any (legal) service could be offered, and the more esoteric ones – want to learn how to fly that Hornet jet? – will give us in the media lots of things to write about.


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