With online commerce now a hit for nearly every conceivable product category, from baseballs to diamonds, health insurance to Hot Wheels cars, Adshop Online is taking the next step: selling an entire Web site via the Internet.
Adshop, a New York Internet advertising agency, plans to sell its Econotrade brokerage Web site in a private e-mail auction July 6 through 12. The winning bidder when the auction closes at 11:59 p.m. EST July 12 will immediately get control of the Web site, as currently built, and its domain name. The buyer will also get control of several variations on the domain name, such as EconoTrade.net and .org and Econo-Trade.com, .net and .org.
In the cyberspace world of buying and selling, those are just about the only assets a company needs, so there will be no inventories of desk chairs, filing cabinets and office supplies to conduct.
Adshop set the minimum bid for Econotrade.com at $15,000, which the company says would cover its development costs. The auction will be conducted in three rounds, with a bid being officially registered when Adshop sends confirmation e-mail back to the bidder. At the end of each round, Adshop plans to notify participants of the highest bid received via e-mail or fax.
The company makes no mention in its auction rules of any plans to use electronic signatures or other authentication methods for the bidders, apparently relying instead on e-mail addresses to verify identities.
It is also unclear how much Adshop believes Econotrade is ultimately worth. “Econotrade is clearly a coveted domain and a sophisticated site,” according to Adshop Vice President Simon Erblich. “Preferably we would like to see it acquired by a firm that would utilize it to introduce value and economy to the online investment community.”
Despite Erblich’s high opinion of Econotrade, the site pales in comparison to the increasingly more sophisticated online trading sites popping up on the Web. In addition, Econotrade lacks the major brand name of an established Wall Street broker to attract customers. As reported, the recent Internet arrivals of such stalwarts as Merrill Lynch have tipped the attendance figures markedly in the direction of the name brand sites.