|EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2657 - October 21, 2011 - ISSN 1539-5065 4 of 5|
After a long and at times ugly restructuring, online auction site uBid is poised to open a new ecommerce property, a relaunch of the auction site BidVille slated to go live around Halloween.
BidVille has already stood up a largely vacant website advertising the forthcoming auction marketplace under the tagline "penny auctions redefined."
Long time readers of EcommerceBytes may remember Bidville, founded in 1999 and one of the early P2P online auction sites to compete with eBay. In 2001, Bidville sued PayPal for breach of contract before eBay had even acquired the online payment service.
uBid acquired Bidville in 2006 and later tried to find a buyer before closing the site in 2008.
The new Bidville marketplace is billed as a new take on "pay-to-play" auction sites, promising that shoppers can recover credits applied to items that they did not win, using them either to purchase the product at full price on BidVille, or apply them to any purchase on uBid.com or its sister marketplace RedTag.com. Those unused "BidBucks," as they are to be known, are available for use up to two days following the conclusion of the auction.
The move comes as the latest development in the rehabilitation of uBid, which Sunrise Bidders purchased through a bankruptcy proceeding last October following the Chapter 11 filing of Enable Holdings, uBid's former parent. Sunrise Bidders now does business as uBid.com.
At the time, uBid President and CEO Scott Koerner sent an email to affiliated merchants promising that the worst times were behind the embattled marketplace.
"We sincerely appreciate you as vendors, sellers and partners, and are grateful for you sticking with us through the toughest times over the last number of months and years," Koerner wrote. "We are now in a very exciting time: we are in a better financial condition than we have been for almost 10 years and can now devote all of our energy to growing the business - profitably."
But for some sellers, the precarious financial position that led to the restructuring of uBid left them with a sour taste.
One of the chief grievances was the erratic payment schedule that many sellers reported as the former parent company's finances deteriorated. As of earlier this year, some merchants claimed they were still owed outstanding payments.
"This is true about some sellers not receiving payments for a couple of periods throughout the sale and prior to the sale of uBid to Sunrise," said one veteran uBid seller who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the seller still operates a storefront on the site.
Reached for comment on Thursday, the seller confirmed that uBid has still not delivered the back-due payments. "That (is) still the issue. We never got any of the outstanding payments," the seller said.
Other complaints included a lack of communication with the seller community throughout the restructuring and the removal of dedicated account managers.
But through its transition, uBid has been seeking to right the ship and rekindle faith in its community of sellers. In addition to the revival of BidVille, uBid.com is planning to unveil a redesign of its flagship website in the first quarter of next year.
As for Bidville, existing uBid users will be able to log into the new penny auction site with their existing account. Once there, they will be invited to purchase so-called BidPacks of 25 bids. First-time purchasers will be treated to 10 additional bids. Users can bid on auctions in increments of 1 cent.
A uBid official stressed that BidVille is still a work in progress without a firm launch date, and did not immediately respond to a request for additional details about the new site.
About the Author
Ina Steiner contributed to this story.
About the author:
Kenneth Corbin is a freelance writer based in Washington, D.C. He has written on politics, technology and other subjects since 2007, most recently as the Washington correspondent for InternetNews.com, covering Congress, the White House, the FCC and other regulatory affairs. He can be found on LinkedIn here.
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UCC Sale of uBid Parent's Collateral Assets Takes Place Friday - October 08, 2010
uBid Auction Site's Parent Enable Holdings Forced into Bankruptcy - October 01, 2010
uBid.com Money Woes Scare Third Party Merchants - September 03, 2010