Riverside based Thembid is a reverse auction marketplace, where you post a service need and let businesses bid on the job.  They have been live to the public since early summer of 2007, and have notably demoed at the TechCrunch40 and recently at Twiistup.  

The Good

Thembid is an interesting concept that sort of takes the idea of the popular Craigslists classified section: gigs and refines it to a bidding process ala Ebay or LendingTree.  Besides bidding, you can also post regular classified ads.  They also have a rudimentary local directory that has basic business information, google map location, and the ability to rate and review the business.  

Just recently they extended all of these services via a whitelabel solution for even more niche areas of job bidding (such as construction).  If they can do a good job marketing that service, I imagine the whitelabel alone should help grow their customer base quite well.

The Bad

As with many web startups, until Thembid gets some traction, its not super useful.  Right now the jobs posted are very few and far between.  Thembid needs to figure out how to get more jobs up or else consumers and businesses alike aren't likely to tune in.  If I was to give them a suggestion, I'd say to figure out how to aggregate content from something like craigslist or maybe even monster, until they have enough unique content on their own to be self sustaining.  Also I'm not particularly confident with Thembid's business model.  Right now they are charging businesses 40 dollars to upgrade their profile, with the notion that more people are likely to choose a premium business over someone else.  Frankly though, right now theres not much of a bidding war, with the lack of activity on Thembid, and even if their was, I think most consumers are going to choose business with the lowest price and the best ratings, so I have a hard time seeing what businesses will pay for this.  Even still, many successful websites take awhile to figure out their exact business model, so if this premium service doesn't work out, assuming Thembid can gain traffic they'll probably be able to figure something out.


Really its the traffic pattern that concerns me with Thembid.  From their initial release on to about three months after they were able to grow traffic to roughly 100k monthly users.  Not too shabby and definitely a good trend.  But then after the first three months, they've dropped down less then 5k users.  I'm not sure what exactly is going on here, but this is a bad bad sign.  Hopefully whatever Thembid is doing wrong traffic wise, they figure out, because they have a semi interesting service that I'd like to see continue to evolve.