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Wagglepop has already shut its doors


February 24, 2005

Some will call it frustration, others, irrational behavior and there are people that will call it a smart business move. No matter how you call it, the much-publicized eBay competitor Wagglepop has already shut its doors only a week after opening, ending a bizarre online soap opera.

Many eBay Store owners and former owners were looking forward to success with Wagglepop after eBay raised a number of listing and subscription fees effective Feb. 18. Hundreds of store owners allegedly closed their eBay Stores and put their faith in the newcomer. That hope evaporated quicker than many thought possible.

After the Wagglepop's unofficial debut last week, discontent appeared to grow rapidly as users complained of poor site performance, security lapses and numerous bugs. Many claim the bugs were never fixed and should have been worked out before the site was publicly launched. Still others claimed there were "other" forces at work determined to see the site fail.

Although the reasons are not yet clearly understood, CEO Ray Romeo shut down the auction site on Tuesday and claimed to have destroyed all site data. A message on the site's home page reads: "Due to site interference, Wagglepop has been closed. We have destroyed all data and information, and will not be re-opening."

Thus ends a three-year dream. Romeo announced the closing on FreeAuctionScripts.com, where a forum was set up for Wagglepop several months ago. Romeo was a frequent poster until recently.

“This whole idea started simply because of people, and my faith in them, and my desire to make a difference. Now, it's people that have left me no other choice but to shut it down.'” -—Ray Romeo, CEO, Wagglepop.com.

"Since this is where and how the whole idea started, I think it's only fitting that it end here as well. Within hours, I will be closing Wagglepop for good, and forever. The servers will be shut down, and all drives reformatted, destroying any and all personal data. No one owes a single penny," he said.

"This whole idea started simply because of people, and my faith in them, and my desire to make a difference. Now, it's people that have left me no other choice but to shut it down. What started out as an interesting challenge has instead become the most painful, personal few months of my life, and my confidence in what I believed about faith and humanity are shaken and shattered... perhaps forever," added Romeo.

In an email to Ecommerce-Guide.com on Wednesday, Romeo issued a brief statement and declined any further questions.

"Due to a combination of DDOS attacks, public disinformation campaigns, and personal harassment, the site is closed, forever. I'd rather not discuss it further. I'm bitterly angry, and done," said Romeo.

Wagglepop members who frequent the forum on FreeAuctionScripts.com expressed disbelief, sadness and even joy over the demise of Wagglepop. Some were also concerned about information they had provided to Wagglepop.

Jerry Williamson, of OneOnOneDesigns, said in a posting on Tuesday, "We never got the opening email notice, must less the closing email. All we got was a bunch of promises and he has our credit card numbers. I'm not accusing him of anything, but....the fact remains.....he has our credit card numbers, email address, website info."

"We spent time and money hiring people to build our templates just for 'wagglepoof'... I'm just sick. Ebay must be really smiling right now," said Williamson.

Letetia Moor, owner of americasfuturehomeschool.com, gave her perspective on how and why Wagglepop failed.

"Many of us were thrilled with the idea of a viable competitor to Ebay. I spent hours getting my business ready and started up my WP store right away. I figured I'd give it a couple of months for the traffic to start flowing before I got too serious about leaving Ebay. Boy I'm glad I resisted the urge to close the Ebay store," said Moor.

"Ray is a good salesman — great in fact. I've seen some of the best, and Ray had a good 'eye' for it — look how many of us fell for his lines. The biggest problem was that he was going solo, far above his level of expertise. He should have hired a programmer, or made one his partner, and stuck to what he knew best. I'm sure he would have promoted the heck out of WP and made a lot of friends along the way — if only...," she added.

"When he got under pressure, he started showing everyone just where his skills were. He couldn't take criticism - deadly to a business owner, fine for a skilled employee. He wouldn't delegate what he couldn't handle," Moor said.

Several posters believed closing Wagglepop was a "decision made in haste." Regardless, frustrated eBay users will have to look elsewhere for a viable alternative.


Source: eCommerce Guide



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