Problems Plague Auction Site Bidtopia
By Ina Steiner
The operation of online auction site Bidtopia, started by one of eBay's largest PowerSellers, appears to be in limbo. Readers have emailed AuctionBytes about dwindling listings and disconnected phone lines (confirmed), and founder Paul St. James is not returning numerous calls to his cell phone. The site is still online and has some live auctions listed. "None of the third party merchants I know have been able to reach them and their listings are dwindling," wrote a reader who said he had been both a buyer and a seller on the site.
Paul St. James left eBay at the end of 2007, where he had operated Bargainland selling overstock at 99-cent No Reserve auctions. He founded Warehouse86 Ventures, LLC, which included reverse logistics solutions, Warehouse86; warehouse management system, The Gavel; online liquidator, Bargainland; and online auction platform, Bidtopia.com.
The company seemed to be doing well until Mother Nature intervened. On February 6, 2008, its Tennessee warehouse was severely damaged by a tornado, and less than a week later, a fire destroyed what was left of the Memphis warehouse. The destroyed warehouse was one of three Bargainland facilities in the US, with other facilities in Utah and Mississippi.
In March 2009, two former FedEx Kinkos executives joined Warehouse86. A Commmercial Appeal newspaper article from last April said the damaged warehouse was what brought the parties together. It listed Ken May as chairman; Bill Doherty, CEO; Paul St. James, chief technical officer; and Joy St. James, chief operating officer, and listed the company's 2007 annual revenue at $20 million.
Phone numbers to both Warehouse86 and to Bidtopia have been disconnected.
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to email@example.com.
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