After starting eBay (NSDQ: EBAY) in 1995, he's spent the last few years investing in new sites like Digg, Goodmail and Meetup.com. Now the auction site's chairman Pierre Omidyar is back in the startup saddle. PEHub found an SEC filing listing Omidyar as an executive of secretive new Honolulu-based outfit Ginx, prompting speculation last night as to the business model
So the company has now issued a release confirming Ginx is being created by Peer News, co-founded by Omidyar and eBay's former classified ads VP Randy Ching: "Ginx is a Twitter client that aims to provide Twitter users with a rich experience for sharing and discussing links. Ginx was created to enable people to become more actively engaged in the news and topics they care about."
For the record, Ginx looks like part social URL shortener, part web annotation tool, all powered by Twitter accounts (here's an example via ReadWriteWeb). It's in alpha testing with a small closed group, due to be widened later this year. It's debatable whether anyone should be building a business model on top of a business that doesn't yet have a business model - but, with Twitter's growing acceptance and the slow sharpening of its strategy, hiring its first biz dev this week, perhaps the messaging site could yet be a platform as well as a service of its own. Barrons, though, pegs Omidyar's new plaything as a distraction that "begs the question as to whether maybe Omidyar ought to be doing something to fix eBay".
(Photo: Joi Ito)
By Robert Andrews