Check Out Copious Dot Com
I've got a friend who is obsessed with weekend yard/garage sales that abound over summer. She and her husband like nothing better than to scour their neighborhood for upcoming sales during the week, then get up early on the weekend and grab a latte before they head out treasure hunting. I must tell her about the new buy & sell website called Copious.com that operates out of Facebook. It claims you can "buy from people not strangers" a dig at the faceless behemoth eBay. Since Facebook connects you to friends and friends-of-friends, one presumes there'll be things you'll want to buy or sell off the people you share interests, socio-economic backgrounds, and who are easy to track down if the item is not what you expected. The site is clean and simple. My interest was tweeked when I saw who the founders and investors are. Check this out:
June 15, 2011 — Founded in January 2011, their about us page says, "Copious is a social marketplace for buying from and selling to people, not stangers. Copious is backed by Foundation Capital, Embarcadero Ventures, The Blackberry Partners Fund, Google Ventures and a handful of well known Silicon Valley angels. Copious is based in San Francisco and is a project of Utah Street Labs.
Founders: Jim Rose | Rob Zuber | Jonathan Ehrlich
Intrigued? I decided to sign-up and give it a test run, but straight off, I'm sorry to report that the site is not yet able to handle any users outside of the USA. In the words of the great Lebowski, "That's a bummer man," cause 90% of Canadians live 50 miles from the 49th parallel, and our postal system has sucked for years (they are currently on strike) and so we're quite capable of using UPS (which stands for "Useless Postees on Strike" again in Canada).
INVESTORS & ADVISORS
The Blackberry Partners Fund
Tim Kendall (fmr Facebook)
Alison Rosenthal (fmr Facebook)
Fenwick & West
Michael Lazerow, Buddy Media
Scot Wingo, Channel Advisor (Advisor)
Alex Schultz, Facebook (Advisor)
Javier Olivan, Facebook (Advisor)
A cursory browse and I see 15 categories of goods: fashion and handbags, antiques, art, electronics, sporting goods... etc. There is a relatively small offering of new and used goods consistent with its start-up position. In fact, there's an astounding number of cocktail/clutch purses, which confirms 3 things: a) silicon valley types go to a lot of cocktail parties, b) cocktail purses are useless because, not only are they too small to store necessities—they're so trend-restricted you want to get rid of them right after the pumpkin transports you home from the ball, and c) chances are that if you purchase a clutch from a friend off Copious.com the odds are good you'll run into the previous owner when sporting your new purchase and then it'll get into one of those inane conversations like, "Hey, I used to own a purse like that," to which you'll respond, "Yes, I know that you moron because I bought it from you off of Copious.com".
The big question is, "In a world of consumerism - does the online community need another eBay?" Heck yeah. Look on the plus side: you're already on Facebook a gazillion times a day, and it provides added creeping opportunities to see what your friends would have put in that gargae/yard sale that you no longer have to do.
How's It Work?
I signed up and posted our trampoline for sale. When I log onto my account it shows 1 item for sale, 0 items bought on a typical looking fb page. When I listed the item I was asked to decide whether the mandatory USP shipping was included or extra. But the trouble is, I live in Vancouver Canada, so there was no way I could try to charge for shipping as the default state code does not include province codes. So I went with free shipping to avoid that bit (but mentioned in the description that you'd better live in the Vancouver enviro and plan on coming and getting the hefty item yourself.) So shipping is definitely a consideration. Then again, if your friends actually DO live in the neighborhood you can avoid shipping. Let me belabor that point.
When I went online to see how my item placed - yee gads, it was right at the top (as the default sort mode is set at date.) The other items on the page were some really ugly earrings in several different "gem" options posted no doubt by the craft person trying to schlepp them, a sort of cool cowgirl hat, a used iPad... so you can see this virtual garage definitely has some interesting possibilities sans dust or cobwebs.
I'll let you know if or when my trampoline sells! Sign-up today and check it out.