RealTime IT News

Online Dating Site, Banner Exchange Service On the Block

WorldPort Internet said it will auction off two of its Web businesses--an online dating site and a banner exchange service--using another of its properties, AuctionBoard.

To be sold at auction are WebMatch.com, an online dating site that claims more than 53,000 members, and BannerSwap.com, an ad banner exchange network that claims more than 40,000 members.

Bids for WebMatch will start at $50,000 and increase in increments of $20,000, WorldPort said. Bids for BannerSwap start at $600,000 and increase in increments of $25,000.

"Back in 1996, we created WebMatch to test out database technologies, and try our hand at virtual community building. Before we knew it, the site had taken on a complete life of its own," said Albert Lopez, CEO of WorldPort Internet. "WebMatch grew to 53,000 members and developed a very loyal following in the United States, Asia and Europe. Now, the site is ready to go out on its own and thrive as an independent business."

WorldPort Internet, the parent company of both sites, specializes in Internet-based business solutions for universities and financial companies. "WebMatch just doesn't fit our current business model . . . we decided that an online auction was the perfect way to sell a successful cyberproperty."

It's basically the same with BannerSwap. "The number of banners in the BannerSwap network just kept growing and growing, until suddenly we had over 40,000 members in the database," Lopez said. "Once the site grew to those proportions, we know we had a real winner on our hands."

The auction opened on the evening of Monday, June 15, and will end on Thursday, July 16. Bidders will be asked to register on the auctionboard.com site and to secure their bid with a credit card.

WorldPort said it regards the bids as 'intentions to buy' with the final winner of the site being someone who has negotiated with WorldPort in a face- to-face-meeting.

"The final purchase will obviously not be done with a credit card. We expect the winning bid of the site to be many times higher than the $50,000 opening bid. We're making sure we screen out phony bids. Anyone who bids on the property is getting themselves into the game, and negotiations will proceed from there. Interested buyers are advised to get their initial bid in quickly. Due to the established virtual community around WebMatch, we expect a high level of interest in the site," said Lopez.

Headquartered in Santa Clara, CA, WorldPort Internet is an e-business consulting service for the education and financial industries.