CNET News.com's Caroline McCarthy contributed to this report.
Revver, a YouTube competitor that made a name for itself by paying video producers, has fallen on hard times.
The company's staff has dwindled to less than half the size it was 18 months ago, according to former employees. Rumors flitter around the Web about whether the company is running out of money. Now comes word that Revver has been trying to sell itself at a fire-sale price for months, according to three sources close to the company.
Revver's asking price is between $300,000 and $500,000, as well as the assumption of the company's debt, which is in the $1 million range, said two sources with knowledge of the negotiations. The sum is tiny considering that the Los Angeles-based Revver raised $12.7 million in venture funding.
The blog Contentinople reported last month that LiveUniverse, a network of entertainment Web sites owned by MySpace founder Brad Greenspan, had agreed to acquire the site.
The deal never materialized. A source with knowledge of the negotiations said talks stalled when Greenspan began "trying to drive down the price" and "that Revver's debt was an issue."
In response to questions from CNET News.com, Angela Gyetvan, Revver's vice president of marketing, said: "I'm not at liberty to discuss any of this with you. I can't comment."
Mark Elfenbein, LiveUniverse's chief operating officer also declined to comment.
Revver gained some notoriety in 2006 when video-sharing became a worldwide craze. YouTube dominated the sector but Revver tried carving out a niche by catering to videographers.
The company, backed by such investors as Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Bessemer Venture Partners, and William Randolph Hearst III, offered to share advertising revenue with makers of the most popular clips. The thinking at the company was that if Revver could win over the best creators, audiences would follow.
That's not what happened. Revver has yet to draw an audience big enough to make it one of the leading video-sharing sites. What it has done well is attract a small but talented group of video producers, the sources said.
"Their (producer) community is loyal to them," said one of the sources. "Otherwise, I don't know that they are worth much."
This is not the first time that Revver has entertained potential buyers. A year ago, News.com reported that representatives from Microsoft's video-sharing site Soapbox had toured Revver's offices on Sunset Boulevard. A source said at the time that Microsoft didn't appear to be interested.