Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Barter in a recession

In a Tight Holiday Season, Some Turn to Barter

"The proliferation of Web sites with names like Swap.com and SwapMamas have moved swaps from the home and the community center to online bazaars with millions of users. No industry figures exist on the number of for-profit startups, but officials at one of the largest, Swap.com, said they have over a million registered users and an inventory of 15 million items at any given time.

"ThredUP opened business in April as a clothing exchange site and expanded this month to toys. Mrs. Spitzer signed up as a member in August.
She said that she used to buy new clothes for her three children, all under age 7, every couple of months and then give them away as her children outgrew them. But after she joined ThredUP, she began viewing her children’s hand-me-downs as currency."

Swap.com and ThredUP charge a small fee for each trade ($1 and $5). I didn't see such a fee on SwapMamas, which also encourages people to offer their used goods as gifts when they don't find a coincidence of wants, and has a reputation system that is intended to make frequent givers also favored recipients of gifts.


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