Aroxo: Cute name, pretty site, but old idea. I ran across this article on Tech Crunch today and was really shocked that another company is building something that has failed before.
Aroxo differs from eBay in which their product pages are static so that buyers and sellers are aware of each other, whereas all pages on eBay are dynamic. We do see eBay going to a SKU system and might easily be able to build a system very similar to this in the future as the current “Want It Now” program is not really successful due to the backwardness of it. This can easily become an add-on for eBay once they move towards a more structured catalog similar to Amazon or Wigix.
Currently, this structured catalog system already exists at Wigix. Wigix is an emerging marketplace that utilizes the NASDAQ model where buyers and sellers can place open buy and sell orders very similar to the bid/ask stock trading platform. Wigix was founded on March 28, 2007 and went to Public Beta on April 29, 2008 and reached 2,000,000 products in their catalog as of January 28, 2009. If I had 3 minutes with the founders of Aroxo, I would suggest that they have a meeting with Wigix before entering the US market to figure out if the model is excelling.
Priceline.com also tried to apply their bidding model to items outside the travel industry and learned firsthand that reverse auctions don’t work well with goods. They closed the doors on WebHouse Club, a privately held licensee of Priceline.com that allowed consumers to name their own price for gasoline and groceries. While Priceline.com’s travel business model has proven that reverse auctions do have merit, just not in all sectors.
At the end of the day I see Aroxo more of a feature that sites such as eBay will adopt, but not as a standalone entity. Best of luck!