Take a look at your CD, DVD, game or book collection for a minute. Do you see something that you will never consume again? I bet you do. What if I was to tell you that you could trade the media that you do not need anymore for new media that you are interested in? This is the basic concept of Switchplanet.
You offer your media that you do not need anymore and send it to members of Switchplanet. This earns you so called Switchbucs which can be used to order media that you are interested in from other members. The only expense that you have is the shipping costs to ship the item to the user requesting them, but that is about it, as you get the new media you are interested in for the virtual currency that you have earned from that operation.
Account creation and usage of Switchplanet is completely free. There are no hidden fees and the developers say that there won't be any fees ever.
Account creating is done in a matter of seconds and the first screen that awaits you is your profile screen. You should enter information that are relevant to trading media, especially your name, address and state or province. Yes that is right, trading media with Switchplanet is available to users from the United States and Canada only.
After editing your profile you might want to add a few items that you no longer need. Just open the add item menu. You have to search for the item which makes me wonder what happens if the item that you want to trade is not amongst the search results.
Nevertheless you add the amount of switchbucs that you want for the item and add other relevant information such as the condition of the item and what is included. You should try and see how many switchbucs other members are requesting before you add the amount of switchbucs. It would not make much sense to request a higher amount than someone else if the condition of the items are the same.
Once you earned your first switchbucs you can browse the marketplace for interesting items that you would like to request. All main categories (DVD, CD, Games and Books) contain several subcategories such as PC Games, Xbox and Playstation 2 in the Games category.
What I really like about Switchplanet is the community aspect. Everyone may rate items and write comments about them, the forum is well visited and seems really helpful if you encounter a problem.
Switchplanet offers every member the option to donate money to charity whenever he makes a transaction. "Instead of transaction fees or membership fees, we want to give our members the option to donate any amount they choose every time they request something for free from another member on the SwitchPlanet network." The plan is to offer not only monetary donations but also item donations, e.g. a book for children to the Red Cross.
Switchplanet is a great service that offers value to its members. This is also a great way to trade music and movies without having to use p2p networks. If you live in the United States or Canada you should give it a try.
Update: The site is currently being rebuild. It is not clear when it will be back up.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.