Besides the neighborhood garage sale or flea market, used goods and small items were reserved for a simple trade with a friend or neighbor. When eBay launched its small goods and consumer electronics options, thousands flocked onto the site to post pictures of their collections ready for sale. Tired of that Bob Marley
CD? Post the item for sale, and possibly make a deal worth the trade. For those looking for other used items, such as CDs, DVDs, and books, auction sites such as eBay and Amazon.com fared well to complete the transaction.
A recent crop-up of exclusive CD and DVD swapping sites is beginning to show some strength. Peerflix.com is an exchange site specifically targeting DVD trading. Users login and set up an account; they can post all of their formerly watched DVDs on a library, or queue, similar to Netflix. Other users can monitor the lists of inventory, and update and maintain their ‘Want’ list. The Have & Want lists serves as the exchange platform, and when a DVD that you want is available, and membership to the Peerflix service is completely free. The member only pays a flat rate of $0.99 plus shipping fees, and the DVD arrives in an envelope right to their door. With this business model, the exchange between ‘buyer and seller’ is smooth, efficient, and easily coordinated.
Lala.com is the CD swapping site that grew after the downslide of Napster and the burgeoning popularity of iTunes. The ‘traditional’ CD continues to be a much coveted item for collectors, music browsers, and people who are interested in maintaining a physical library of original music. Lala.com works on the same model as Peerflix. Members register for free, and can list and trade directly on the website. Each CD costs a flat rate of $1, and a shipping kit is provided to send out the CD. Once you send out the requested CD, you then get your own request filled.
The trends of peer-to-peer trading and networking for media took off with the Napster generation, and encouraged the influx of people using the web as a portal for increasing their own media libraries. CD swapping lets users ‘try-before-you-buy’ in an easy format, with limited hassles and increased flexibility for browsing. Netflix, the thriving movie rental service online, has proven the mail-and-return business model works; people enjoy the reduced pressure of no late fees, browsing and reviewing titles, and low shipping costs. As sites such as Peerflix.com and Lala.com increase their membership, more people are seeking new ways to browse, list, review, and trade their purchases. ‘Online recycling’ may be a rising social trend that can prosper in the long run.