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Acts of Charity on the Net

April 19, 1999|BOOTH MOORE

Five competing online auction sites are making peace to raise funds for Kosovo refugees. Amazon.com, EBay, Yahoo, LiveBid and Up4Sale are collaborating to auction thousands of items, with proceeds to benefit the American Red Cross.

There are three ways to participate: Bid on items at one of the auction sites (items for sale include toys, puzzles, cameras, computer games and more); donate proceeds from an auction you have held; or make a donation directly to the Red Cross.

"It's rare for competitors to be cooperating. It's a tribute to their humanitarian spirit, to the national and international effectiveness of the Red Cross and to the catastrophe in Kosovo," said John Fine, chief executive officer of the Seattle King County chapter of the American Red Cross.

The national effort is an outgrowth of a local partnership between Yahoo and Washington state Red Cross chapters, which will hold their own Internet auction from May 21 through June 6. Items to be auctioned at http://www.seattleredcross.org include Caribbean cruises and merchandise donated from retailers such as Starbucks and Eddie Bauer. Fine said that after he approached Yahoo about holding an online auction to raise money for local chapters, the Santa Clara-based company brought other auction sites on board and made it a national effort.

"We are committed to Internet technology. Raising funds through online auctions is an important direction. I think we'll be seeing more organizations doing it," Fine said.

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