eBay, the world’s biggest online auction website, has announced that it is to open up its auction platform, allowing users to list up to 50 items per month for free, effective from April 19.

Items will be able to be listed at any start price and “Buy It Now” options will be available for free, drawing specialist auction ethusiasts and average internet users back to the auction site to buy and sell products.

eBay’s statement reads as follows:

“As we look toward the future of commerce, eBay is positioning small sellers and larger merchants alike for growth, and connecting them with shoppers excited about their great deals and terrific service”

“As we look toward the future of commerce, eBay is positioning small sellers and larger merchants alike for growth, and connecting them with shoppers excited about their great deals and terrific service,” said Christopher Payne, senior vice president and head of eBay North America. “We are listening to our customers and continue to tailor pricing to ensure the success of our sellers, and make eBay more convenient, accessible and relevant to their customers.”

eBay will also reduce the final value fee rates for Store and Fixed Price sellers, and will make sure the final value fee is added to the totla amount of a sale – including shipping –  to encourage sellers to provide free or low cost shipping.

The company believes its new pricing structure will reward sellers who offer consistent and affordable shipping rates, a problem that eBay has suffered from, particularly with overseas sellers.

eBay’s new final value fee structure will go live for non-store sellers on April 19, 2011, and for Store and Fixed Price sellers on July 6, 2011.