in Montreal

Last auction for Mighty Bids

Mighty BidsMighty Bids, a Montreal based auction site, is calling it quits and get this… taking the ‘eBay exit’. Pretty ironic given the site’s founders, Peter Michaud and Jeff Ramaglia, routinely criticized eBay seller fees.

The site attempted to differentiate itself by providing free basic listings, but still charged a percentage of the final sales price and premium listings fees. The free listings, promises to donate 5% of profits to charity, and silly eBay protests were not enough to pull in significant numbers of sellers from eBay. Over the past four years Mighty Bids garnered 100,000 registered members and acquired 9 domain names. In case you are interested… the eBay auction ends July 1.

Mighty Bid’s new owners will have to make some drastic changes if they plan on successfully competing with eBay. What strategy would you take if you won the auction?

  • http://jonasbrandon.com Jonas Brandon

    I would:
    - Differentiate between local transactions (completely free) and transactions over a distance or that are delivered over the internet (percentage of sales price, no listing fees).
    - Explore combining listings onto community managed ‘product pages’ (think productwiki.com) to reduce search time and ease listing.
    - Consider onsite advertising (along the lines of plentyoffish.com).
    - Test flat rate ‘tenancy’ as opposed to per transaction pricing for power sellers with high satisfaction ratings.
    - Aggregate listings on other sites, offer meta search, export xml listings, and offer embeds to become a central repository even if it makes money for one’s competition early on.

    Hat tip to Startup North reader Stephane Boire for bringing the eBay exit to our attention!

  • http://jonasbrandon.com Jonas Brandon

    I would:
    - Differentiate between local transactions (completely free) and transactions over a distance or that are delivered over the internet (percentage of sales price, no listing fees).
    - Explore combining listings onto community managed ‘product pages’ (think productwiki.com) to reduce search time and ease listing.
    - Consider onsite advertising (along the lines of plentyoffish.com).
    - Test flat rate ‘tenancy’ as opposed to per transaction pricing for power sellers with high satisfaction ratings.
    - Aggregate listings on other sites, offer meta search, export xml listings, and offer embeds to become a central repository even if it makes money for one’s competition early on.

    Hat tip to Startup North reader Stephane Boire for bringing the eBay exit to our attention!

  • http://www.redcanary.ca Trevor Stafford

    With ebay on one side and Craigslist on the other, (and with facebook coming up) I think the Plentyoffish strategy is the only one that makes sense. Go free or go home.

    I would not try to broadside ebay’s model, you just can’t. MB would have been smarter to focus on niche categories, adding features that helped buyers and sellers in those niches. Oh wait, that’s exactly how eBay started (and Craigslist I might add). You’d think they would have learned….

    There are many things Ebay doesn’t do well – their reputation system sucks, they have no real ‘communities of interest’…these are areas I’d attack.

  • http://www.redcanary.ca Trevor Stafford

    With ebay on one side and Craigslist on the other, (and with facebook coming up) I think the Plentyoffish strategy is the only one that makes sense. Go free or go home.

    I would not try to broadside ebay’s model, you just can’t. MB would have been smarter to focus on niche categories, adding features that helped buyers and sellers in those niches. Oh wait, that’s exactly how eBay started (and Craigslist I might add). You’d think they would have learned….

    There are many things Ebay doesn’t do well – their reputation system sucks, they have no real ‘communities of interest’…these are areas I’d attack.

  • Pingback: Montreal Tech Watch » Blog Archive » Mighty bids sold

  • Pingback: Montreal Tech Watch » Blog Archive » Mighty bids sold

  • Stephane Boire

    Attacking EBay on their very well protected territory was a little suicidal to begin with. But still, depending on what percentage of the market they wanted to gain, I think there is still something to be done with this idea, I mean, come on, they still have 100K members which is definitely worth something…
    First, playing with the fees was, to me, a good (but not perfect) idea but in exchange, they had to provide *at least* the same service as eBay. By that, I mean: a very high traffic and according to alexa (http://alexa.com/data/details/traffic_details?q=mightybids.com/&url=mightybids.com/) it is certainly not something they were able to generate…
    Secondly, I deeply think they should have publicized a lot more… I read somewhere that eBay spends (maybe not anymore since Google pissed them off: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/06/23/BUG3OQKAOA1.DTL) they spent around 25 Million $/ year on advertising on Google only … I wonder how much MB spent annually on ads …
    Finally, I agree with Mr. Stafford, they should have focused on a niche OR a very specific and painful feature of EBAY ? The down side of this is that EBay would probably have reacted to any threats from MB.
    In conclusion, you have to have balls the size of a Bowling Ball to attack EBay and I certainly think MB proved us that but at what price? I just wonder where they found the money to put this project to life and if any VC was behind all this?
    I wish the founders of MB will come back with a brand new kickass project very soon!

  • Stephane Boire

    Attacking EBay on their very well protected territory was a little suicidal to begin with. But still, depending on what percentage of the market they wanted to gain, I think there is still something to be done with this idea, I mean, come on, they still have 100K members which is definitely worth something…
    First, playing with the fees was, to me, a good (but not perfect) idea but in exchange, they had to provide *at least* the same service as eBay. By that, I mean: a very high traffic and according to alexa (http://alexa.com/data/details/traffic_details?q=mightybids.com/&url=mightybids.com/) it is certainly not something they were able to generate…
    Secondly, I deeply think they should have publicized a lot more… I read somewhere that eBay spends (maybe not anymore since Google pissed them off: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/06/23/BUG3OQKAOA1.DTL) they spent around 25 Million $/ year on advertising on Google only … I wonder how much MB spent annually on ads …
    Finally, I agree with Mr. Stafford, they should have focused on a niche OR a very specific and painful feature of EBAY … The down side of this is that EBay would probably have reacted to any threats from MB.
    In conclusion, you have to have balls the size of a Bowling Ball to attack EBay and I certainly think MB proved us that but at what price? I just wonder where they found the money to put this project to life and if any VC was behind all this…
    I wish the founders of MB will come back with a brand new kickass project very soon!

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  • Pingback: » Blog Archive » David and Google

  • Stephane Boire

    Quick update: the auction closed july 1st with a total of “US $97,601.00″ and the reserve price was now met (!!!). Even though “The seller lowered the reserve price”, MB has still not been sold…

    I really wonder what they are going to do now … Contact the highest bidder ? Re-post ? close the website…

  • Stephane Boire

    Quick update: the auction closed july 1st with a total of “US $97,601.00″ and the reserve price was now met (!!!). Even though “The seller lowered the reserve price”, MB has still not been sold…

    I really wonder what they are going to do now … Contact the highest bidder ? Re-post ? close the website…

  • http://jonasbrandon.com Jonas Brandon

    Yeah, I emailed the founders… if they get back to me I will post an update…

  • http://jonasbrandon.com Jonas Brandon

    Yeah, I emailed the founders… if they get back to me I will post an update…

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