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Web 2.0 Portal Yoosi For Sale On eBay

The development team behind a fledgling Web portal, Yoosi.com, has devised an unusual exit strategy for their start-up: They're selling the business on eBay.

Yoosi.com

The auction listing hits all the buzzwords, advertising "Web 2.0 Startup Portal for Sale." The buyer will take home the domain name and source code for Yoosi (pronounced "you see"), a portal that enables users to create content "widgets" and arrange them at will to build home pages aggregating their favorite Web services. A screenshot on Yoosi.com illustrates the portal's customization potential.

Yoosi's creators, a team of about a half-dozen developers, spent more than a year building the site before launching it in March, according to founder and CEO Jake Lackey. He's been working on Yoosi full-time and is passionate about the site's potential.

So why sell Yoosi when it's barely out of the nest? "We're being realists," Lackey said. "We decided that we could try to move it forward ourselves, or we could find another owner of the site who will have the resources and time to move it forward better, quicker and faster."

Lackey said that Yoosi, based in Pasadena, Calif., has considered a more traditional business-development approach and had a few conversations with venture capitalists. But discussions about Yoosi's future always returned to the core problem: The business needs more time and financial backing than its creators can give it. So Lackey opted for the "if you love something, set it free" approach.

"Hopefully, the person who wins the bid will be the person who most wants Yoosi to succeed in the future," Lackey said. "We felt this is the best way to get Yoosi to the next level."

Lackey was inspired by earlier trailblazers on the acquisition-via-eBay path. The poster child for the method is Jux2.com, a meta search engine that built a small cult following before heading for the eBay block in October. It sold for just more than $100,000. Another meta search engine, DigForIt.com, later sold for $25,000.

Yoosi is obscure and has only 100 or so active users, and its creators have done little publicity work, Lackey acknowledged. Without a known brand, the site's main asset for buyers will be its technology.

That's intriguing enough to prompt entrepreneur Andrew Bellinger to offer $1,000 for Yoosi, the top bid as of Monday afternoon.

"I have been a user of Yoosi.com for a couple weeks now and have enjoyed the flexibility that it offers to its users. I was amazed to see it go up for auction on eBay," Bellinger said via e-mail. "At my first opportunity, I bid on it and since then have been fighting off other bids."

A Web developer who owns several technology companies, including services firm Cyber Domain Solutions in Syracuse, N.Y., Bellinger is evasive about his exact plans for Yoosi. He first found Yoosi.com while attempting to register the domain name, which he had in mind for another business. However, once he began using Yoosi, he became a fan.

"If I win, this will not be the last you hear of Yoosi.com," Bellinger said.

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