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Marketplace creates 'trade rings' for group swaps

Life Hacks

We’ve been writing about swap initiatives for years, including efforts for exchanging books and CDs, furniture, clothing, and even homes. Whereas most of these efforts focus on exchanges of like-valued items between two people, we’ve now spotted Finnish Netcycler, which opens up swaps to “trade rings” involving multiple people and unevenly matched goods. Netcycler is a service for giving away and acquiring secondhand goods without exchanging any cash. To participate, users list what they’d like to give away, along with something they’d like to get in return. Those “wishes,” as the site calls them, needn’t match the commercial value of the items being given away. Using a unique matching technology, Netcycler then sets up “trade rings” that can include multiple people whereby each gets a wished-for item and is able to get rid of something too. Each resulting swap is different as a result; one, for example, might include an MP3 player, children’s clothing and a bookshelf — not equivalent in commercial value, perhaps, but evenly matched in satisfying the wishes of the participating users. Swaps on Netcycler are free; the company’s revenue comes from additional services, such as an integrated shipping option. Netcycler currently operates sites in Finland and Germany, with a UK version now in closed beta. One to help bring to your neck of the cash-free woods…? Spotted by: John Greene & Murray Orange



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