SwapTree.com has enlarged your trading range to cover the entire country.
Forget losing 85% of the cost of college text books.
Forget losing 50% when trading video games at the local game store.
Forget the long, slow, costly, disappointing eBay auctions.
This is your personal instant, free (plus S&h), renewable swap shop. It's easy, fast, and addictive.
First go to one of your shelves of CD's, DVD's, Video Games or Books and grab at least 10 items you don't want anymore. If you start with less than 10 you'll soon find yourself getting up and running to shelves all over your house or apartment looking for more items to swap. We started with 2 of my sons PS2 games, we went for 8 more within 10 minutes.
Next, go to SwapTree.com and create your account and login, the site goes live July 4th 2007.
Find the "items i have" link and "ADD an item to your HAVE LIST". You will need to enter the UPC code for CD, DVD and Video Games, ISBN numbers for books to help verify authenticity. As soon as this is entered you will see, under your user name, links to items that you can receive in trade. Look at them all, or browse one of the four trading categories. That's it. Start shopping, or add more items you have and want to swap.
After entering our first video game we had 42 items we could swap for. After entering our second video game we had 241 items we could swap for.
Add items to your "items i want" list and SwapTree.com will automatically set up the trade. In fact they will also facilitate 3 and 4 way trades. There are more details and features to the site, but you get the idea. When the site goes live and more people join I expect the number of possible swaps to explode.
You can print a shipping label right from the site after completing a trade. You can buy the shipping label with an e-stamp. The cost is calculated automatically and is the actual cost of shipping (plus a few pennies). You will also be charged $1 (one dollar) in any month that you use their pre-paid stamp service, regardless of the number of items you ship.
When you receive an item in trade it also appears in your "items i have" list. So you can relist for swapping instantly. I predict a lot of CD swap, rip and relist. A creative way to get top quality music for the cost of shipping and cheaper than iTunes or anything else if you want all the tracks from a CD.
They tell me that if you list lots of items you will get a free, small barcode scanner to try out. Nice. I don't know how many items you need to list so I suggest you contact SwapTree.com
Like eBay there is a rating/feedback mechanism to weed out the jerks and theives. I don't think there will be much noise, after all, no money changes hands. Going on vacation? Just pause your account until you return.
Be ready to swap and ship as soon as you list items. If you want a good rating you need to accept trades, after all you asked for the swap. You need to ship quickly too. According to the FAQ you have one day to get the item out the door. Actually I think this is a bit unrealistic, shipping in 3 days is more reasonable. The encouragement to get items out the door quickly is because shipping via USPS media mail often takes up to 2 weeks for books and has a minimum cost of $2.13 for a one-pound package. For CD/DVD and video games you might want to ship first class, it's often less expensive than media mail.
So how does SwapTree.com make their money?
Greg Boesel, the company President, explained that they use a targeted advertising model. Since they know what items you have to trade, and possibly what items you want to acquire, it's a simple matter to match the ads to your swap lists. Most web advertising I find annoying, but if the advertising starts offering coupons or discounts for something I actually want, well, that would be a lot more interesting.
One last thing. SwapTree.com has a toolbar you can acquire from the downloads section of their site. This toolbar has real value. When you are browsing one of the supported sites for CD's, DVD's, Video Games or Books, one click on the SwapTree toolbar will tell you if that item is available for free on SwapTree.com, NICE!
The Swaptree toolbar currently supports the following sites; Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, Half.com, Alibris.com, booksamillion.com, abebooks.com, Buy.com and Powells.com.
SwapTree.com sure beats paying for things, or losing an auction in the last 30 seconds after a week of waiting and it's coming soon to a browser near you.