SwapTree, Back From The Dead – In Private Beta

I was sure trading site Swaptree had been abandoned. After a flurry of press about them over a year ago, they went very quiet. Potential investors told me they’d just stopped returning calls completely. My own emails went unanswered as well. They had the smell of death about them.

But it wasn’t so. It turns out Swaptree had merely gone quiet and was focused on building out the product. They are now in private beta and say they will launch to the public in just a few days, on July 4.

Like Peerflix and LaLa, Swaptree is focused on letting users trade certain stuff with other users. Users can trade CDs, DVDs, video games and books.

To use it, you build two lists. The first is a list of items you are willing to trade. You can simply type in the UPC code or ISBN of the item – Swaptree will then add a picture and other important information. The second list is made up of things you want. This list can be created by clicking on items on the Swaptree site, or even easier ways like importing your Amazon wish list or using a plugin to click on items on Amazon directly and have them included on your Swaptree “wish list”.

Swaptree will then look at your demand list and supply list and try to set up trades for you. To make things simple, Swaptree assumes you’re willing to give up any item on your trade list for any item you want. They will then set up a trade, using as many as four users to make it happen. That way, the person with the item you want doesn’t need to want something you have.

The only way the model will work is if Swaptree gets a lot of users who each add a lot of items they want, and are willing to trade. To help things, Swaptree doesn’t charge anything for trades – you only have to pay the outbound postage on the item you are sending. The company will make money from advertising on the site.