Lots of buzz the last day around the new eBay competitor Wigix. They have an interesting take on the marketplace, and you can't blame them for trying - its well known that the two "general marketplace" leaders (eBay and Craigslist) have done very little innovation in the last few years (Craigslist by design, eBay has no excuse).
Wigix' site looks ok, and the vision is interesting and ambitious (see this post by Bill Burnham for more). But at first pass I see a couple of potential issues:
1) Unlike with stocks and commodities, where all shares of MSFT or bushels of corn are the same, "stuff" is not always the same. People customize their cars, scratch their phones, etc. etc. In the current Wigix SKU pages I don't really see the ability for people to completely/richly describe their items for sale. eBay allows people to fully describe their items (including arbitrary text and pictures) - something that makes each item almost a one-off (which is sort of true), but something that also makes searching highly annoying. Wigix wants to get around this by moving closer to an idea of a commodity - but I don't know if this works. I would be wary of buying an iPod unless I am pretty sure I know what condition it's in and have seen pictures (unless I'm being told it is brand new). Wigix can probably fix this relatively easily - but it could be a challenge to do it within their commodity-like framework.
2) Wigix' vision includes people using their site as a place to keep track of all their stuff, as well as a marketplace to sell/buy that stuff. That's interesting and does make sense in a way. But I don't know if people will think about it that way. I'm willing to bet most people want a place to buy and sell, period (especially dedicated businesses - which I believe make up a big % of eBay's sellers). So it feels like the "this is my stuff" aspect of Wigix will just be superflous at best and distracting/off-putting at worst. Other "stuff trackers" have been made and have gotten limited traction. But maybe I am wrong - its possible that the stuff tracker/marketplace model is the right combination and will get big adoption.
3) Finally, I don't see a rating mechanism yet. And interestingly, the personal profile page has fields for a user's eBay ID and password so that Wigix can get to their eBay rating. This is a nice try at leveraging eBay ratings (arguably one of the most valuable pieces of eBay and built up over many years), but I have to believe eBay will shut this down VERY quickly.
In conclusion, its a pretty interesting effort. Only good things can come out of someone thinking hard about marketplaces and innovating on them.