.Com of the the late 90's is now renamed as Web 2.0.
Remember history is repeated by those who never learn from it.
If you want to learn from people's mistakes, go to TechCrunch's Deadpool.
This is a tagged section of their website which lists companies that have gone belly up. Companies that owe million$ in debt or just couldn't get enough traction.
Everything from Second Life wannabes, MySpace wannabes, Facebook wannabes, Friendster wannabes, some with series A through C level of funding ranging from $1M to $300M all folding.
Take your pick, trawl through them and learn the lessons well.
Perhaps it may be me, but I find it a bit humiliating to sell your company on eBay. It's like stripping a carcass of edible parts to feed the vultures before finally dumping it. It's not dignified. But then again, if you do have vultures circling you, you may as well throw them something to keep them off your back.
There's nothing wrong with failure mind you. It's part and parcel of life. Consolidation happens. And you should give everything in life a try. That's life. Based on success rates of startups, a rational person would be foolish to start one. It's actually safer to invest in some strong blue chips.
It's a lot of money to a poor man, but to a rich man, they don't mind having a go. They might hit the big one with you. Doing a startup means giving it a go. If you really believe in yourself, and feedback from others tell you its good, do it. It's not the destination, the journey in life is important too.