1 September 2010

Neighborly borrowing, over the online fence

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SnapGoods
The New York Times reports on how online start-ups are allowing people to rent out their belongings locally, for a small fee.

“The Roomba was mine for only 24 hours. I had rented it through a service called SnapGoods, which allows people to lend out their surplus gadgetry and various gear for a daily fee.

SnapGoods is one of the latest start-ups that bases its business model around allowing people to share, exchange and rent goods in a local setting. Among others are NeighborGoods and ShareSomeSugar. Other commercial services are springing up, too, including group-buying sites like Groupon, the peer-to-peer travel site Airbnb and Kickstarter, which allows people to invest small sums in creative ventures.

The common thread of all these sites is that access trumps ownership; consumers are offered ways to share goods instead of having to buy them.”

The final quote by Rachel Botsman, co-author of the forthcoming book, “What’s Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption”, is worth reflecting on:

“This new economy,” says Ms. Botsman, “is going to be driven entirely by reputation, which is part of a new cultural shift — seeing how our behavior in one community affects what we can access in another.”

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