Social Pages

By Janine Hughes

Exchanging goods and services was a way of life before money was used. Swapping websites are the latest way to barter and provide a fun, easy way for people to get what they need or want in exchange for their unwanted goods or services. The growth in the number of such sites attests to the popularity of this method of trading.

Cars, clothing and consumer electronics are just some of the most popular items for exchange as well as services like house cleaning and child care. Sites devoted to services are usually area specific. Some of the larger, established marketplaces offer numerous categories with thousands upon thousands of listings. Others deal more specifically with a particular area, dealing with interests like biking, cars or clothing. Registering and joining is a simple process and once terms and conditions are accepted, trading can begin.

A listing is usually easy to post with step by step instructions given. The post has a title, a detailed description of the item and possibly a value. Each member will usually have an account, a dashboard or even a personal store where the listings and offers can be viewed. Sites have built in software allowing images to be uploaded. More than one image can usually be downloaded but the picture size is limited. The member then has the opportunity to list the goods or services they expect in return.

Viewers of the items can show their interest and ask questions. They will then make a proposal to the one who has posted the listing. If this is accepted, the swap can take place. The two people involved in the swap will then exchange details. This may be telephone or cell numbers or delivery addresses if the goods are to be posted. A physical meeting can be arranged if this is geographically feasible.

Once an item has been delivered, the other party is obliged to follow through with delivery too. Before this point it is possible to withdraw from a swap. If an item is posted, the date of posting, method and tracking number is usually recorded. Once items that are posted have been received, confirmation is necessary. Personal accounts or dashboards are often used to keep track of transactions.

Ratings have been introduced by many of these marketplaces to allow the online community to assess fellow members. Reading ratings can give a good idea of how reliable a user is when it comes to describing items, making proposals and arranging for speedy delivery of goods. Active online communities also mean that seasoned users are available to give new users tips and advice.

A question on the lips of many people who want to use these sites is how safe their dealings will be. There are always risks involved when trading online and obviously users need to exercise caution and common sense. Checking user profiles and reading ratings helps to identify individuals who have proved trustworthy. Personal and financial information should not be given out.

A system of bartering can work extremely well if the users obey the rules and follow instructions that are put in place for their safety. These websites are easy to use and it can be really helpful to exchange unwanted items for needed and wanted ones without having to pay money. One can even have fun making swaps and make new friends in the process.

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