Exclusive Offer For TechCrunch Readers: Sell Your Old iPhone For Quick Cash

We’re one week away from the debut of the 3G iPhone, and the question on everyone’s mind seems to be, “What’s going to happen to the six million first-gen iPhones that are on the fast track to obsolescence?” The iPhone – the ultimate in “cool” for the last twelve months – is about to board the lametrain, and the race is on to unload them before its resale value dips any further.

Ztail, the startup that wants to be a Kelley Blue Book for everything, is looking to help. The site is offering TechCrunch readers two options for selling their iPhones with as little hassle as possible. You can access both options here.

Option 1 – eBay Insurance:
The first option is an experimental insurance policy for eBay that guarantees that you’ll be able to auction your iPhone off for a reasonable price (see table). If your auction ends at a lower price, Ztail will pay you the difference, and if it goes higher, you’ll get to keep everything you earn. You’ll need to follow Ztail’s instructions for posting the auction (for example, they specify certain times for your listing to go up), but the process should be straightforward for anyone that has used eBay before.

This option is available to the first 100 TechCrunch readers that go here and enter the code “TechCrunchZtail”. Auctions need to start by Saturday to take part in the deal.

Skeptics may wonder why anyone would bother with Ztail when you can just list auctions yourself on eBay with a reserve price. Ztail’s Bill Hudak says that while using a reserve price does act as a safeguard, it also serves as a strong deterrent to bidders – it’s actually better to begin an auction at $.99 and let the market set the item’s value. The company will be using the iPhone offer as a test for their eBay insurance, which they hope to extend to other products in the near future.

Option 2 – No Hassle:
The second option requires less work, but you’ll get around 20% less cash for it. The site has set up an affiliate partnership with Venjuvo, a cash-for-electronics trade in site. To use this service you’ll just need to slap on a Venjuvo shipping label and throw the iPhone in a box. Shipping is free and you’ll get your money in a matter of days via PayPal or check. This option is similar to what’s offered by Flipswap, which we covered last week. Venjuvo and Flipswap’s pricing seem to be similar, though they will vary day to day.

Some readers may be wondering how Ztail is able to guarantee prices from $200-300 when the new iPhone is debuting at $199 in a week. In reality, the $199 sticker price for the 3G phone is really just a clever marketing ploy from AT&T – you’ll actually be paying more over the long term than you would with the first iPhone. 3G iPhone users will be paying at least $15 more a month for data and SMS messaging charges, while owners of the original iPhone will be able to keep using the old, cheaper plan. The new iPhone will also probably be harder to unlock for use with other carriers, which may increase the original phone’s value even further.

All users who are looking to sell their iPhones should remember to wipe their data. This guide includes a brief description on how to do this. Alternatively, if you’d rather hold on to your iPhone and use it as an iPod Touch (disabling the cellular radio), you can.