Innovation That Matters

Swapping marketplaces

Work & Lifestyle

Internet swap sites allow consumers to trade products online. One of the newest is Swaptree, adding yet another twist to the concept. Boston-based Swaptree lets people trade books, cds, dvds and other items. Users create lists of what they have and what they want, and Swaptree looks for matches, using a complex system of algorithms. Unlike other bartering sites (Zunafish, PeerFlix, and Lala, to name a few), which only allow consumers to trade like item for like item, Swaptree lets users swap for any product that has the same value as what they’re offering. How it works: a member enters the UPC or ISBN code printed on the back of every cd, book, video game and dvd. Swaptree then finds the correct item details: edition, release, version, paperback/hardback, normal/widescreen, etc. And instantly shows the user thousands of items that they could receive in trade. Members are responsible for shipping goods to each other. Swaptree, which recently launch its private beta testing period, will be free to use. The company’s business model revolves around targeted advertising. For many consumers, swapping is more appealing than selling because it eliminates the negotiation process, fee structure and ratings systems that are an integral part of online marketplaces like eBay. Swaptree’s benefit over Barterbee, another multi-trade swap site, is that it doesn’t work with a points system, thereby further simplifying the act of bartering. Will swapping marketplaces become as common as currency-based online markets? With the big ones gobbling up localized version? Build it now, sell it soon!


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