Mag's Web auction action

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Meredith Corp.'s Traditional Home joins forces with eBay next week for a promotion billed as the magazine industry's biggest online charity auction.

For a week beginning Jan. 22, eBay's Web site ( will tout Traditional Home on its main page, promoting the magazine's online auction of 87 home furnishings and decor items from a showhouse it built in Manhattan last year to benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

The auction also supports the foundation.

More than a year in the making, the "in-magazine and online auction" is the culmination of a promotional push that began with Traditional Home's "Built for Women Showhouse."

"This is a first for us and for the magazine industry, we believe, and by teaming with eBay we're extending our brand to 22 million eBay users while driving our own readers to experience our magazine on the Internet," said Traditional Home Publisher Wilkie Bushby.

The magazine built its showhouse last year. Famous women including Bette Midler, Elizabeth Taylor, Tina Turner and Barbara Walters lent their names to the effort, and each personality inspired the design of a specific area of the house. The house was on display in Manhattan for three weeks last October, raising more than $200,000 from 11,000 people who paid $25 each to tour it.

The project was the first showhouse Traditional Home has created since 1997 and was backed by grand sponsors American Standard, KitchenAid and Phoenix Financial; sponsors Pratt & Lambert paint and cabinetmaker SieMatic; and dozens of partners and advertisers donating furnishings and decor.

All the items to be auctioned are featured in a special four-page section appearing in the March issue of Traditional Home, which hit newsstands last week. The items include a Faberge egg, a Steinway piano and a daylong decorating consultation with "Prince of Chintz" designer Mario Buatta.

The Meredith title also has a deal with Butterfields, an upscale auction division of eBay, to display the showhouse items each day to 5,000 people who visit

In addition, Traditional Home is promoting the auction through its site.

Traditional Home's research shows 97% of its readers have a home office and Internet access, Mr. Bushby said, and "they index very high in technology," so most are expected to adapt to eBay easily.

The magazine serves as an auction catalog, enhancing eBay's efforts, he said.

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