Have you heard about Listia? Two entrepreneurial Sunnyvale Californians came up with the idea and it launched in August of 2009, an online auction site for totally free stuff. Some of the items offered are nice (think iPods, Laptops and expensive jewelry) and some of them are just plain silly (think bobble head dolls), but all of it is free for the taking.
So how does it work? Just sign up for an account. You’ll get at present 50 credits just for signing up. You can also get credits by referring friends who complete and auction, posting comments on an auction or cleaning out the garage and selling your own free stuff on Listia. You can then use those credits to bid on things you want. Some offer free shipping, some sellers charge a nominal shipping fee. Even with the small shipping fee, who wouldn’t want a brand new iPod for only $5 shipped to your door?
If you’re bidding on something you’ve really got to have and you’ve run out of credits, don’t fret. Listia also sells credits so you can purchase a few to get that free video game you’ve been yearning for when you’ve run out of credits. You’ll still get the item you wanted at 90% or more off of the price you’d pay on eBay or other online marketplaces.
What’s the exchange rate? Well, there’s currently an iPod Touch cover going for about 60 credits on Listia. You can head on over to eBay and grab it for about $30. That’s about 2 Listia credits per US dollar. Of course the exchange rate varies from item to item, but it’s really not a big concern when all your credits are free.
What’s my best Listia strategy? Well, I’m currently planning on listing quite a few auctions and referring as many of my friends as possible to save up for a free laptop. I’m killing two birds with one stone: getting rid of a lot of things I don’t need and getting a laptop, which I definitely do need. You can also purchase a lot of the smaller items with fewer credits, and without having to save up the credits. Listia has a lot of coupon auctions that will get you free food and other necessities. Basically, they have something for everyone.
For coin collectors, Listia seems to be the new hot market for selling antique, vintage and collectible coins. Don’t pass them up if coin collecting is your hobby!
Is Listia better than Craigslist for getting rid of free stuff? Well, I don’t know about the larger things that would cost a lot to ship, but it is definitely the superior venue for more “shippable” goods. First of all, you don’t have to field a ton of e-mails, or SPAM offers when listing your item. Secondly, you know the person who wants your wares the most will end up being the highest bidder and therefore be most likely to follow through with payment (if there is any, for shipping). They will also be the most likely to enjoy what you have to offer. So thumbs up, to Listia!
Do I have to be careful of scams on Listia? Well, I haven’t seen any yet, but keep your eyes open. Hot new internet businesses almost always fall victim to scamming at one time or another. But Listia has a great way to ensure that you can trust buying and selling through their venue – a feedback system. Much like eBay, buyers and sellers can rate each other after an auction so you’ll get the heads up on any unsavory activity. Always check a sellers feedback before bidding. And just remember that you’d take the same precautions anywhere on the internet.
Listia is also an altruistic company and offers charity auctions. Though the charities are limited currently, they have plans to add many more in the future. If you have a benevolent nature, instead of giving your old junk to your local church or charity where they have to resell it to get the cash they need, put it on Listia instead and designate a portion of the funds for charity. It’s a great option if you want to give back.
So, go ahead. Clear out your closet and redeem all that old stuff for something you’ve had your eyes on for a long time, whether it be a free LCD TV, free laptop, free iPod, free cell phones or free DVDs. Listia.com is the modern go-to source for trading online.