Well Funded Travel Penny Auction OffandAway.com Shuts Down, Acquired by Lockerz.com

offandaway.com shut downWhat was, in my opinion, the very best penny auction site for travel-vacation destination auctions, OffandAway.com has just shut down.

Off&Away was founded by Amazon.com and travel industry executives. They launched at TechCrunch Disrupt, ran auctions for over a year, and obtained more than $3.25M in funding from Madrona Venture Group and other investors.

According to the message that is now displayed on their site, the travel entertainment auction site  was just purchased by social e-commerce site Lockerz.com (also based in Seattle).

What is Lockerz? 

¨Lockerz’ mission is to be the homepage for men and women ages 13 to 30, building a community of trendsetters and tastemakers who love to shop, play and connect on the Web. As a members-only site, Lockerz has grown to nearly 19 million members worldwide, offering major discounts on the best fashions, electronics, music and more. Members earn PTZ® (“Pointz”) by watching videos, listening to music, answering daily questions, and through social commerce.¨

Whether or not this means Lockerz will add penny auctions for travel to their offering, or if they plan on adding travel offers via credits, or anything else we are not yet sure. Judging by Lockerz other acquisitions of companies such as  Plixi, VodPod and AddtoAny, I´d assume  they wanted something OffandAway had to add to Lockerz´features.

Thanks to OffandAway I was able to stay in a fantastic penthouse suite in Chicago and apply bid credits spent on auctions that were not won to booking hotel stays. They truly offered a win-win experience with their penny auctions and flash sales.

Here´s the official shutdown notice from OffandAway:  

¨Off & Away closing its doors

To all of our awesome and faithful customers, today marks an important day for Off & Away. Our company has been purchased by Lockerz (www.lockerz.com) and we’ll start working with their team and on their product effective immediately. Thank you for supporting us for the past two years. It’s been a fun ride and we’ve had a blast curating and offering the best experiences at the best hotels in the world.

We want to make sure that the transition is as easy as possible for our customers, and with that in mind, below we’ve outlined some of the changes that will be occurring as a result of this acquisition:

  1. Help: Our help pages and FAQs are updated to address new questions. We have suspended our inbound phone customer support to help us better manage what will likely be a large amount of inquiries. We will still be accepting all questions via our standard support forms and that’s the best way to get in touch.
  2. Auctions and Private Sales: Effective immediately, we won’t be running any more auctions or private sales.
  3. Bookings: All future bookings, whether they be Auction, Private Sale, or regular Book Now bookings will be honored and serviced as they normally would be (i.e. you don’t have to do anything if you have an existing reservation except go and have fun).
  4. Book Now Credit: If you have outstanding Book Now credit, you’ll be able to use that credit under the same 30 day expiration you are used to. We are keeping the Book Now search/book tools open for the next 30 days (you must login for access). If you earned Book Now credit by inviting friends or by being invited, that expiration (which has been a year in the past) will change effectively immediately to 30 days from today.
  5. Bid Packs: If you have unused portions of bid packs that have not yet expired, we have already refunded you for that amount and you should have received / be receiving an email that outlines your refund for the amount you paid for those bids.

We appreciate your patience as we go through this transition. As usual, our first priority is serving our customers, but we may be just a tad slower in responding than normal. Apologies in advance.¨

We´ve e-mailed Doug Aley to see if we can find out more about the sale, we may just have to watch Lockerz and see what happens.

Did you bid on OffandAway? How do you feel about this (yet another) penny auction shutdown?

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