Press & Media » The Standard


Media-trading Web Sites Gain Popularity

The Standard (Website) - 2/5/2008 by Sarah Erst
Free, online trading of old CDs, DVDs and books may halt the search for budget-friendly entertainment for many media lovers.

Media-trading Web sites such as mailbagmedia.com and swaptree.com let members trade all types of media while only paying for the cost of shipping.

To sign up, users simply become a member of the Web site of their choice. They then create two lists: one of items they want and another of items they have available to trade.

The media-trading Web site then takes those lists and find trades for the member.

"Think of it as a legal Napster, but for all your media," Mark Hexamer, Swaptree.com co-founder, said. "We've been told that it's amazing and addictive."

The most traded media on these Web sites are books, Hexamer said.

The popularity of trading books led to the creation of Web sites specifically targeted at this business, such as paperbackswap.com.

DVDs come in second to books in terms of trading popularity.

Exclusive Web sites for DVDs are just as important to the media trading industry, Billy McNair, CEO of Peerflix, said.

"We felt that if we created an easy way for people to take the DVDs they have lying around and use those DVDs to get other movies they want to watch, that people would use that service," he said.

Operating much like eBay for their delivery of media trades, most Web sites offer guarantees for trades that are not completed.

Many media-trading Web sites have policies regarding trading pirated media. The ultimate result of trading illegal copies is the termination of the user's account.

"I think the concept is a great idea," Terra Pizzo, a sophomore communication major, said. "Who wouldn't want practically free entertainment?"