Desperation Time? Synthasite Gives Stock Away To Users

Is this a brilliant PR move, or a sign of desperation? Web site builder Synthasite, which we took an early look at in November 2006, is giving 1 million shares of stock away to users.

Users earn shares by creating templates. Each template accepted by the company earns 1,000 shares for the creator. “We’re only selecting the best templates,” the company says.

The company won’t say what percentage of the company they are giving away, but do say that the shares are valued at $250,000. Since Synthasite has not raised significant outside capital, that valuation doesn’t mean much.

“If SynthaSite was ever acquired or became a listed entity, these shares would be worth exponentially more than what they are today,” the company says. That’s a bold statement, and one that would almost certainly get them in trouble if they were located in the U.S. Since Synthasite is located in South Africa, U.S. securities regulations don’t apply to them. So if you’re a designer willing to take a little risk, go get those shares.

Synthasite has a sophisticated site creation tool that competes with a host other startups and Google’s own page creator. Other competitors include Weebly and Jimdo. Webjam, Sampa, and Freewebs are creating communities around easily editable personal websites.