eBay Aims High with WorldOfGood.com

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Online auction site eBay might be best known as a source for obscure collectibles, the occasional useful item, and headline-catching oddities (like Seattle’s automated public toilets, or a man’s soul). However, now the auction site is setting itself up as a way to offer fixed-priced goods based on “ethical supply chains,” and often with a larger social and environmental objective.

eBay has announced it is partnering with startup World of Good to launch WorldOfGood.com, which will offer products made from recycled and natural materials, encourage users to buy organically-produced goods, and items crafted by artisans (often women) in developing nations. WorldOfGood.com aims to be a single source where consumers can buy these goods, knowing that the goods and the conditions under which they have been produced are certified by groups like TransFair USA, Co-op America, and Aid to Artisans as meeting a core set of ethical and environmental standards.

“WorldofGood.com by eBay gives shoppers who care about making a difference access to great products that help people and the planet,” said eBay Marketplaces president Lorrie Norrington, in a statement. “Socially responsible shopping just got bigger and better.”

Items currently offered on the WorldOfGood.com site span the range from toys and sports equipment to musical instruments, jewelry, clothes, arts, and home items. Shoppes will be able to search for products using social or environmental categories, and see details about products such as a picture of an artisan who crafted a particular item, details of its production, and whether any of the proceeds from sales support charitable or non-profit organizations.

Although most of these products are already available through other channels, eBay potentially brings tens of millions of new customers to the table: current estimates put eBay’s active user pool over 80 million.

As with eBay’s main site, WorldOfGood.com sellers pay eBay to list items for sale, and eBay takes a cut of the proceeds. All transactions are being handled by eBay’s online payment service PayPal.

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