An electronic refuge has come for those needing to purge their cluttered stores of books, CDs, DVDs and video games, or for those needing to stock up their shelves with various media outlets.
Swaptree.com is an online trading platform, which traders use to exchange pre-owned merchandise with one another, as long as their used belongings are in decent condition. Swaptree’s cross-media trades are unique conventions; users are encouraged to trade CD’s for video games, DVD’s for books – and all other possible combinations.
Swaptree.com is a free service and receives its income from advertisements – which means no credit cards. So how can users be sure trade partners are committed to their end of the trade bargain?
“New members kind of have to work their way up,” said Vice President of Marketing and Co-Founder of Swaptree.com Mark Hexamer. “So a lot of times people won’t want to trade with a new member if people see their rating isn’t high enough. But what we’re trading is books, CDs, DVDs, video games – not flat-screen televisions.”
Used products are rated according to a rubric ranging from ‘acceptable’ to ‘new.’ Users build confidence in each other’s trade reputations by reading comments that previous traders have made about their experiences.
More seasoned users with high ratings benefit most from Swaptree’s services.
“The more trades you have, the higher rating you have, and the higher rating you have the more trades you’re going to get,” he said.
Almost all used items are created equal in the eyes of Swaptree.com, so users will never have to pay a difference if one item originally cost more than another. But some items are considered more valuable than others.
“We do give a little bit of preference to what we call high value items,” Hexamer said. “And those are items such as DVD sets, so the first season of The Sopranos, or The Office, things like CD sets over four and recently released video games, those items are flagged and people will not be able to initiate trade for those items unless you are in return offering a similar high-value item.”
Hexamer said he doesn’t think the trading service will infringe on thrift stores or outlets for donated used items.
“We do compete for the same kind of thing,” he said. “But I don’t think our customers are the kind of people who are giving anything away in thrift stores. These are books that they happen to have on their shelves, so there are a lot of best sellers, a lot of hard covers. I don’t think they’re the type of things that people would sell to a thrift store.”
College students can search for other users on their campus, if they desire closer trade destinations.
Caitlyn Conefry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.