craigslist vs. eBay: the Plot Thickens
Reuters reports today that craigslist has filed a countersuit against eBay in California. Like eBay’s suit against craigslist, the countersuit contains a number of accusations of unfair and/or unethical business practices. Reuters explains:
In addition to unfair competition and fraudulent business claims, the countersuit accuses eBay of copyright infringement and using misleading advertising on Google Inc to run ads for its rival Kijiji site that appeared to be Craigslist ads. . . .
And it gets a bit shadier, too. As a minority shareholder, eBay was entitled to have members on craigslist’s board. The countersuit alleges that eBay used these members to try to pressure craigslist into being acquired by eBay and/or to gather competitive information while preparing to launch Kijiji, eBay’s classifieds site/craigslist rival. In fact, the suit “charges eBay code-named this its ‘Craigslist killer’ in internal strategy discussions,” and
“In the months leading up to the launch of its competing Kijiji site … eBay used its shareholder status to plant on Craigslist’s board of directors the individual responsible for launching and/or operating Kijiji,” the latest suit alleges.
The suit doesn’t ask for much in the way of damages: just returning all of eBay’s shares of craigslist, and “disgorging” profits from eBay. Oh, and punitive damages.
eBay has responded, with Spokeswoman Kim Rubey saying that “We regret that Craigslist felt compelled to resort to unfounded and unsubstantiated claims in order to divert attention from actions by Craigslist’s board that unfairly diluted our minority interest.”
At first it looked like craigslist would be the bad guy here, but as always this is getting into a they-said, they-said contest. Who do you think will prevail?