A cashless system where you can actually swop your old items for something you want!
anyone need the invitation code to join, i can give.
On Straits Times:
Swop & Save
Teens are taking to the old-fashioned practice of barter by trading unwanted items online
By Alex Liam
WE MAY be living in a ‘throwaway’ world but the Internet has helped revive an old-fashioned practice, even among the young: barter.
YouSwop, a Singapore-based website set up in August last year to allow people to swop things they did not want for something else, is proving to be a hit.
The website has been gaining popularity, with some 6,000 members joining in just the past six months. Teenagers make up 35 per cent of the crowd.
Membership is free.
‘This idea works because people want to barter away things they bought on impulse which others might find more useful,’ says Mr Patrick Lim, 32, co-founder and manager of the website.
Members put up notices informing others about items they want to swop. The site is popular because of its flexibility: There can be a direct swop between two parties.
Or, a member can ‘sell’ an item to someone else for You-
Swop dollars (YS$). The value of any item is up to the seller.
The virtual credit earned can then be used to buy other items on the ‘swopping board’.
The actual exchange of items takes place through postal delivery or a direct meeting at a location agreeable to both parties. Postage charges are usually borne by the seller.
Young adults and teenagers who spoke to The Sunday Times like the website.
Ms Ivy Tan, 21, is one such fan. The undergraduate from Nanyang Technological University usually swops clothes, vouchers and books for bags and collectibles.
She joined YouSwop in January, after a friend told her about the site.
‘It’s novel, and the fact that it’s virtually cashless helps me to keep tabs on my spending. I get a fresh supply of items I want to use without shelling out any cash,’ she says.
The swopping facility has since evolved to include contests in which members can win movie tickets.
Members like this feature too.
‘This site totally feeds my need for a great bargain,’ Ivy says with a laugh.
Another member who is fast becoming a regular YouSwop user is 16-year-old Hazel Tan. The Methodist Girls’ Secondary student joined the website in December last year.
She admits that she is a shopper who buys things ‘on impulse’ quite often.
Hazel feels that the concept of passing on unwanted but still useful items to someone else is sensible.
‘Just throwing away such items is wasteful. Giving them to those who want or need them makes sense.
‘Besides, doing this earns me credits to get other items I want, which is good for people with limited cash like me,’ she says.
The website even has a feedback system which allows people to find out who are the reliable swoppers.
Site manager Mr Lim, a business consultant, admits that he had not expected YouSwop to become so successful.
He had started it with two friends simply as a nifty way to get rid of excess goods on their hands.
However, they soon realised it was a great way of helping the green movement – as the website’s popularity increased, mainly by word of mouth.
‘It became clear that we were doing something similar to recycling, basically helping the environment while leaving everyone satisfied,’ he says.
Mr Lim hopes that the young people who use his website will one day bring swopping to a greater level.
He says with a grin: ‘In future, these young people will influence others about swopping. It might become a popular culture, even a norm.’
Still, the swopping website has its share of problems.
There have been cases, for example, where one person has not kept to his part of the bargain in the swop. Mr Lim and his ever vigilant team will then swoop in to mediate.
Besides YouSwop, another site, sgfreecycle.org, works on a different model – no barter trade is involved here.
Members dispose of items they no longer want. Other members indicate their interest on a first come, first served basis.
Teen stuff takes up a significant proportion of items on offer on this website, ranging from Playstation games to arcade tokens.
University student Lim MayAnn, 27, managed to satisfy her craving for her favourite movies through the website.
‘I was thinking of watching old movies like A Time To Kill, but I didn’t want to have to spend money and go around hunting for them,’ she says.
‘So when someone said he was giving his copy away, I headed down to his place in Bishan, which is pretty near my home in Upper Thomson, to collect the movie.’
An online check revealed that there are more websites which offer teens in Singapore the chance to swop items.
They include Swapace and Bookmooch, with the former offering quirky items such as a pet spider and hair-styling clay and the latter focusing on books.