Ready, Fire, Aim! - Mihail's Public Blog: For the holidays, trade unreliable boyfriend for alarm clock!

Friday, December 17, 2004

For the holidays, trade unreliable boyfriend for alarm clock!

According to this WSJ story (subscription required), bartering is big this holiday season: "As the holidays approach, hundreds of cash-strapped Web users are adding a twist to online shopping -- armed not with cash, but with offers to swap their talents for gifts."

The barter category of Craigslist, an online bulletin board, attracts four million page views per month, according to Chief Executive Jim Buckmaster. The number of listings on the barter section, which was set up in 2000, has climbed 70% in the past year, to 12,500 in November. "Bartering is fun, a bit of an adventure, and often a way to network with other 'birds of a feather,'" says Mr. Buckmaster.

Online swappers post notes on message boards describing what they have and what they want, sometimes including dollar values and often adding personal pleas that are absent from typical classifieds listings. To be sure, some of the ads are less than serious -- a San Francisco woman recently posted an offer on Craigslist to trade her unreliable boyfriend for a reliable alarm clock -- but for the most part listings are sincere.

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