OnStartups

Another Startup on eBay: Is This The Best We Can Do?

Posted by Dharmesh Shah on September 16, 2006 in startup auction ebay sale 38 Comments


Seems the trend to auction startups up on eBay is increasing.

The latest is the GoldenFeed listing on eBay.  This is a “Web 2.0” startup that does some type of bidding based RSS feed. 

Thanks to Marc Nathan who passed along the news about GoldenFeed.  He wrote a brief  post about it here.

As far as I can tell, this particular startup hasn’t even gotten off the ground yet (other than the fact that they have a Google PageRank of 5).  [Side note:  If anyone can explain how they managed to get a PR5 when there seem to be zero links to the site from anywhere else, that would be helpful].

Now, I’ve written about prior startups that were auctioned on eBay (Kiko, HuckABuck), and there were several others that I didn’t write about.

This got  me to thinking.  Similar to how there are “vertical” job boards popping up all over the place (37signals, Spolsky, etc.), would there be value to having a site specifically focused on startup auctions – as an alternative to eBay?

Do We Need StartupAuction.com?
 
So, what would the benefits of such a site be?
  1. Vertically focused:  it could build an audience of buyers and sellers that are exclusively focused on startups.

  1. Listing fee:  One of the issues with eBay is that it doesn’t really cost anything to put a startup up for sale there.  As such, we’re going to see a lot of crap.

  1. Commissions:  Since the price tag for startups can (possibly) go into the hundreds of thousands, it might be beneficial to have a “flatter” pricing model that was not tied to the purchase price.

  1. Community Due Diligence:  The community could have discussions around the pros and cons of the given startup (this would b ea virtual “vetting” process that is just not possible on eBay.

  1. Traffic Generation:  Part of the value would be that StartupAuction.com would invest in building the right type of traffic for its site (ensuring that buyers and sellers were coming together).


There are a ton of “feature” ideas I have on how this might be a useful approach for selling startups (instead of eBay, which is really too generic and doesn’t quite “fit” right).  

I’m already preoccupied with my own startup, so do not have the energy to pursue this.  If there are any “takers” for this idea, let me know.  Or, perhaps I should list the idea itself on eBay and sell it.  J

Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from doing this yourself.  The upside to working with me on this is that I have a cool domain name, an existing readership that could be used to “seed” some of the early traffic and a wee bit of experience in startup-land.

So, what’s the verdict?  Lamest idea you’ve heard this week, or so obvious that someone’s going to do it?