Techvibes, the local online social community which is dedicated to technology recently went up for sale on eBay (see screenshots below, hosted on flickr). Unlike other blogs that point at the relative antiquity of the site as well as the fact that the site got pulled off of eBay, nobody’s talked about the reason the site got yanked, which is the topic of my rant.
The understanding is that the site got pulled off of eBay because one self righteous bastard who knows nothing about privacy law (but knows how to mess with the due course of business) piped up and complained to eBay about the listing. eBay, of course, needing to protect their own interests, shut it down as they normally do in these situations (without little or any investigation).
Geesh, well whoever complained to eBay – it worked. They removed the listing saying that it was illegal to sell a database of personal information.
I was actually planning on removing the eBay listing this morning anyways because we’ve had so much interest and most of the inquiries require a fair amount of due diligence… so I don’t think an eBay auction would work unless we were able to provide a lot more information (financials, access to analtyics etc.) to the general public.
So while the eBay listing has been removed, Techvibes.com is still open for sale to the best offer… please contact me directly mike at club zone dot com.
What does this mean? Well, the squeaky wheel certainly got the grease. The whiner is no longer part of the Techvibes community (good riddance) but I’m sure the damage is already done.
Setting the record straight
There’s nothing wrong with selling a whole business intact – the customers, their information, etc. (conversely, there is something wrong about selling databases containing personal information by itself unless there’s some form of explicit permission given such as affiliate relationships)
At the end of the day, it’s a good idea to always consult your lawyer (an IP lawyer at that) and make sure that the people in the database are apprised of the change in business after all, the privacy laws in Canada puts the power of control of that information in the hands of the person to which the personal information is attributed (that was a mouthful).
Overall, I think Techvibes is a good buy for someone who’s interested in putting the time and legwork into bringing the community back to life.