Exclusive – Zookoda Goes Up For Auction

While some companies have the ability to hire investment banks to help them sell themselves (see Grouper and Napster for recent examples), eBay is proving to the be liquidity path of last resort for many struggling web startups, or those that simply want to sell out for a few hundred thousand dollars. We’ve tracked at least six “web 2.0” companies who’ve attempted to sell themselves on eBay over the last year, and four of the six have been put up for sale in the last month. As an aside we also noted a Digg user profile that sold on ebay for $822 in July 2006.

ebaysales.gifThe chart to the left shows some of the relevant auction data, including sale date and price if a sale was closed. Three (jux2, DigForIt and Kiko) sold, two (Madhens and Huckabuck) didn’t and one (Crispads) is still pending with no bidders and a $90,000 minimum price.

Zookoda, an Australian email marketing and services company, is next up. The current service launched on March 13, 2006 and version 2 was covered on TechCrunch on its launch in May. The Zookoda.com domain name as well as the related service (source code, images, blog, partner website, admin website, database, server and documentation) is up for auction, as well as consulting time for the transition. Unlike the six companies above, however, Zookoda is holding a direct auction outside of ebay so that, in the words of co-founder Nick McNaughton in an IM conversation we had earlier, “we can have some control over our own destiny and make a considered decision on an appropriate partner.” In other words, Zookoda will have the ability to choose a partner outside of the normal eBay rules – they will not have to sell to the highest bidder and can consider things like equity/cash combinations, choose a lower bidder because it’s a better fit, etc.

More information on Zookoda and the sale is here. Expressions of interest are being gathered from September 25 through October 6. Interested parties will have an opportunity to conduct due diligence on the service, and final bids must be received by October 13. To indicate an interest in the auction, go to this page.

Nick won’t say what their minimum price is, but given that Zookoda has over 5,000 passionate blog customers and an extremely feature rich service, there will be at least a few interested parties.