EBay rolls out social networking for shoppers

Online auction site eBay is carving out neighbourhoods for Trekkies, coffee lovers, 'shoe heads,' knitters and other groups in a bid to appeal to overwhelmed consumers put off by the site's millions of offerings.

Online auction site eBay is carving out neighbourhoods for Trekkies, coffee lovers, "shoe heads," knitters and other groups in a bid to appeal to overwhelmed consumers put off by the site's millions of offerings.

The company launched its social networking "Neighbourhoods" site Wednesday and announced plans to introduce more features for customers, including a window-shopping feature and different sorting techniques.

The new site aims to be more interactive by allowing users to upload photographs, write product reviews and participate in discussion forums.

"We knew we had to change things internally because we couldn't innovate with the effectiveness or speed we needed," company spokesman Hani Durzy said Tuesday in advance of the "Neighbourhoods" launch.

The site's 600 other neighbourhoods include foodies, hikers, Star Wars, iPhone, and Seinfeld.

EBay is the largest online auction site. In its most recent fiscal year, it reported revenues of almost $6 billion US.

With more than 559.1 million items listed on the site in the second quarter, users have complained it's difficult to narrow searches accurately, driving some consumers to search out other options on rival sites including Amazon.com or Overstock.com.

With files from the Associated Press