A Carson City-based company is set to become online auction pioneer EBay's newest rival beginning this week.
Lowestbids.com will feature a unique, live auction format allowing buyers to post items they want and then multiple sellers to bid for the buyers' prices. On EBay, sellers post items and potential buyers bid on them.
Bob DeMaio, president and chief executive officer of Lowestbids.com, predicted the online auction company would be an immediate success.
His Drive4U.com, an online ground transportation reservation bidding service, already is profitable and debt-free after being launched last November in Carson City, he said.
''If you take a look at what they are doing, it is really unique,'' said Mike Franco, an investor in both companies and president of a new online company in San Jose, Calif.
''Many Internet companies fail because they are doing the same thing other companies are doing. The leaders in the industry set themselves apart by doing something new.''
EBay spokesman Kevin Pursglove said there are more than 14,000 sites similar to EBay and his San Jose-based company is not taking the newest competition lightly.
''This market is extremely competitive,'' he said. ''We take each and every player in the market seriously because you never know who is going to have the magic touch.''
About 10,000 sellers already are registered with Lowestbids.com.
DeMaio has hired seven programmers and oversees a staff of 13 for both companies. He plans to hire about 25 programmers immediately and 100 other employees in the next few months.
''Right now that is our biggest struggle - looking for high-tech employees,'' he said. ''We needed to fill these jobs yesterday.''
DeMaio, 38, who moved from Los Angeles to Lake Tahoe three years ago, owns 70 percent of both companies.
Before moving to Nevada, he ran a 30-car limousine and car service in Southern California.
In the first quarter, the amount of merchandise sold on EBay's site surpassed $1 billion for the first time, bolstering its position as the world's largest online auction site.