Students start up online auction sites

BY VICTORIA EDWARDS
Daily Staff Reporter
Published March 30, 2004

With the high price of books and the long lines at conventional
stores, students are being offered more up-and-coming venues where
they can buy and sell not only books, but also football tickets and
sublets.

University alum Zach Price started the auction website
TheDiag.com this week, in response to demand for a venue to
advertise products for students that were not being auctioned
elsewhere.

The website functions similarly to eBay, and students can post
bids and purchase items ranging from computers to furniture to CDs
after registering with the site.

“Ever since I came to U of M, I was amazed at the high
demand for sublets, football tickets, parking spots and used
textbooks,” Price said.

Price got the idea to start a website to help students with
these things four years ago, but said he never had the resources or
time to really pursue it — until now.

Price is not the only one who will be competing with
conventional stores by offering products to students online.

LSA junior Johnny Glase said his friend Scott Palko, a
University of Notre Dame alum, started a website at Notre Dame that
was very successful and planned to bring a similar one to the
University.

Glase said he took up Palko’s offer, and the website
UMtoday.com, which was started in December 2003, now has a couple
hundred users. One of the site’s features is an online
marketplace, where students can bid on furniture, books and
electronics. Glase said he is now actively publicizing the website,
which is 100 users short of attracting advertising contracts.

Palko, who bought the company and then started it at the
University, said although the company has not made a profit at the
University yet, he expects lucrative results in the fall.

Although Glase said he and Palko are waiting for more
advertisers before offering a link to MEBay.com — an
auction-type service for University students — the mementos
of student life on the website are attracting users.

“Students’ response to the different online venues
has been mixed. LSA sophomore Erin Luyendyk said she doesn’t
use either site.

“I just never got into (buying online), I guess. My
brother shopped online but someone got ahold of his credit-card
number and bought something,” Luyendyk said.

Although there are risks involved in buying online, engineering
junior Steve Bammert said he would participate in online
auctions.

“I think students need a website like that. At the end of
the year, there are TVs and futons that students need to get rid
of, and there is not really a place do that besides the
classifieds,” Bammert said.

He added that he already frequents Glase’s site and is
looking forward to auctions that will be featured in it.