The search engine Jux2 has put itself up for sale on the auction Web site eBay, a sign of the times for the hyper-competitive search industry.

On Wednesday, a week before the auction ends, the highest bid was $26,300.

Owning a search engine isn't for the meek. Aside from having to come up with the cash, new Jux2 owners will need their own servers, hosting facilities (search) and, sometime in the future, the business deals to give the engine access to search results from Google Inc., Yahoo Inc. and other search engines.

"Given the times in which we live, shouldn't everyone have their own search engine?" Jux2 project co-creator Aaref Hilaly wrote of his motivations on the search Weblog by John Battelle.

For something as high caliber at Jux2 to be offered for sale, almost flippantly, on eBay highlights overcrowded conditions in the Internet search market.

Even though it may have started as a hobby, at 10,000 queries a day Jux2 is clearly resonating with Internet users.

Also, the technology behind the "meta-search engine," called that because it gathers results from many Web search engines, is winning awards.

As explained in the eBay auction materials, Jux2 is up for sale because it was in essence a development tool (search) that got too popular.

As its creators write in their eBay entry, what began as a research tool for their own good just got too popular to keep up on their own.

"To do justice to the opportunity ahead would take more time than any of us has right now," the creators write about their motivations on eBay, where Jux2 went on sale on Monday. "So, we're hoping this auction will put jux2 into the hands of someone who can take it to the next level."

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