Saturday, November 10, 2007


An online trading community exists to provide its members with a structured method for trading, bartering, or selling goods or services. These communities often have forums and chat rooms designed to facilitate communication between the members. These communities are sometimes described as the electronic equivalent of bazaars, flea markets, garage sales, and so on.


The earliest trading site known to the internet (Not including sites such as eBay that accept cash transactions for all goods) appears to be Game Trading Zone. The domain name was registered in the summer of 1998, followed by the implementation of an independent database in the spring of 1999. This database also helped traders by showing them a list of potential trades, saving them a great deal of time in finding trades. In an effort to generate some income, 1999 also introduced advertisements, subscriptions, and an affiliate marketing program to the site. Another popular trading community, Switchouse, popularized the online activity. In the peak of Switchouse's popularity, bought the website hoping users of the community would use Amazon instead.

Formal trading communities

These are business-run websites maintained for the purpose of facilitating trades between members. Some of these charge a fee for each successful transaction.

Peerflix is a DVD trading service which operates networks in the United States and Canada. Members are able to trade their DVDs using the website, with only a small transaction fee for each DVD received. For each DVD sent, members earn trade cash. They can use this balance to request DVDs from other members or to collect the proceeds from Peerflix once they have accumulated 100 dollars. The service provides a guarantee in case of lost or damaged disks.
Title Trader is primarily a book trading service that has expanded into the trading of videos, CDs, and DVDs. Members earn trade points (and positive feedback) for each item sent and may use these points to request items listed by other members. There are no trading fees for this site although a Premium Features subscription is offered on an annual basis.
Swaptree is a trading service which currently operates in the Unites States only. Users can trade used books, CDs, DVDs, and video games for free. Cross media trades are possible as well (for example, you are able to trade a CD for a book). Users add items to their "have list" and "want list" and Swaptree is able to instantly calculate all of the items you can receive in trade.
Flickflop is an inventory-based DVD trading service available in Canada and the United States. In lieu of trading with each other, members exchange their used DVDs for DVDs held in flickflop's inventory. Requested DVDs are sent promptly and there is no need to maintain a want list. The service collects a small fee for each trade.
When compared against online DVD rental, the online trading model is more affordable. In terms of product availability, there will tend to be a shortage of "popular" items and a surplus of unpopular ones.

Informal trading communities

There are several lesser known sites known that specialize in a multitude of services including community trading, but not limited as such:

Craig's List is a site for posting personal advertisements but many users have found this a less than conventional means of trading goods online with local residents.
1UP is a website dedicated to the publishing of news, videos, and other related media dealing with video games. There is a growing section of the site though dedicated the trading of games and DVDs on their message boards.
IGN is another website dedicated to videogame news and media that also has message boards dedicated to online trading. The distinguishing factors being that IGN has a much larger integrated database of games and DVDs in existence that users can add to their collection lists for trade purposes as well as mark the ones they are playing to lock from trade.

General rules of conduct

Some online trading communities have specific rules adopted by the users of that community, and though they can differ most have settled upon a few standard practices:

The less experienced trader (usually indicated by their feedback or trade history) sends their half first.
It is generally frowned upon by most communities to "thread crap" (A term referring to a user not involved in the pending trade undercutting a trade in progress with either a better deal or reasons for the trade not to take place).
When trading any used items be sure to include the condition and quality of the product so as the receiver can determine the overall value of it.

Trading circle

A trading circle is a form of online trading designed for the viewing of TV series and episodic media. Videocassettes, DVDs and CDs represent the items normally exchanged. Each member agrees to pass an episode on to the next member in a timely fashion, thereby allowing all members of the group to view the series.

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