Ridiculous Start-Up: Billionaire Auction Site

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An economic downturn may not be the best time to try hawking multi-million-dollar goods, but that didn’t stop one group from launching the first ever luxury auction Web site.

BillionaireXchange.com made its debut last week, after a trial version of the site launched several months earlier.  The site is marketing itself as the first and only online marketplace specifically designed for billionaires. But, as ABC reports, this may be a bit of a stretch.

“Co-founder Quintin Thompson says the ‘billionaire’ in BillionaireXchange is aspirational; the site is meant mostly for millionaires, but associating your company with millionaires is too ordinary to lure ultra-high-net-worth members,” according to ABC. Though, as ABC also points out, many billionaires (and even some millionaires) may not be the type to peruse auction sites online.

So, is anyone actually taking part in this auction? According to the co-founder, 12 billionaires signed up for the service and 68 transactions, worth a total of $180 million, took place during the trial period.

There are multi-million-dollar yachts, aircrafts and a Ferrari Enzo on sale. Many of the highest priced items currently on the auction block are real estate, such as this $9 million Italian castle,  and even A-Rod’s mansion, which has a starting bid of $10 million. Hurry though, there are only 12 days left to buy it and that price will likely go up now that the Yankees have won the World Series and he’s no longer public enemy #1.

Yet, as of now, there are no bids for any of these items, according to the site.

Perhaps one problem is that the site requires all bidders to prove they have at least $2 million in liquid assets. This certainly limits their target audience.


Obviously, a luxury auction site needs to function a little differently than a site like eBay. For one thing, payments are not released until the person has received their item.

"If a $30 lamp doesn't show up, you're not going to be too crushed, but a $50,000 watch is a different story," the co-founder of the site, told The New York Post.

The lowest starting bid on the site is $1,000, and that’s for only the lowest tier of products. It does make sense when you think about it. Bidding $1,000 on a million-dollar product is the same as bidding a penny on a $10 purchase, but even more insulting. 

So what can you get for a modest $1,000? A bottle of champagne.

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