On My Healthy Obsession with Peer-to-Peer Marketplaces

17 Nov

I seem to go through annual cycles of Internet obsessions.

In 2008, it was social communication platforms, like Twitter. In 2009, it was services that make microblogging easier, like Hootsuite and Ping.fm. In 2010, it was location-based mobile apps, like Foursquare and Gowalla. And this year, it’s social marketplaces.

The concept of “collaborative consumption,” also know as the “sharing economy,” completely enthralls me. The fact that I don’t need to book a hotel, buy a car or invest in a drill is amazing — instead, I can just borrow these things from regular people from my neighborhood or from around the globe for a small fee. Now, that’s something worth getting excited about.

So, what types of things can you collaboratively consume? The list goes on and on, but here’s a snapshot of some of the most interesting things you can find on social marketplaces:

Even more exciting is the potential for meeting awesome people via social marketplaces. You don’t get that experience with traditional marketplaces — Zipcar, I love you, but it’s just the truth.

I’ve hosted a number of guests on Airbnb (and have stayed in quite a few places as well); I teach a class on “PR for Startups” on Skillshare, and I’ve learned how to knit (see video above) and live rent-free in NYC; and I catsit for the fun of it via Sittercity.

Along the way, I’ve met some amazing people (Stefania in Catania, I’m talking to you!) and cats (Darcy, Yuki, Ernie and Sabi, you know you’re all the cat’s meow). What’s not to love?

The social economy is where it’s at for me this year, and I have a feeling it’s going to spill over into 2012. So, what was your tech obsession this year? Let me know in the comments below!

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22 Responses to “On My Healthy Obsession with Peer-to-Peer Marketplaces”

  1. Megan March 21, 2013 at 3:26 pm #

    Hey Erica!

    Amazing list of social sites to get involved in – especially Housetrip, which I browse quite often. How are your PR classes at Skillshare going? If you have interest in an easy, fun way to share your skillshare presentations at any point (with your students or even on this blog), check out the link below!

    http://bcontext.com/blog/index.php/share-presentations-from-skillshare-or-meetup-with-an-ipad-2/

  2. Sid December 26, 2012 at 10:47 pm #

    Can’t believe you left out CouchSurfing! That to me is a “higher” level of collaboration economy because it doesn’t involve a monetary transaction (which is awesome, and unlike Airbnb, not that I don’t love Airbnb) and is also an amazing community. Great list by the way, didn’t know a lot of these.

    • ericaswallow December 27, 2012 at 6:06 am #

      Hey Sid. Great comment, and I like where your mind is. I left off Couchsurfing, because it isn’t a “marketplace” if there is no exchange of money. Likewise, when we discuss “economies,” even, we’re usually discussing some sort of trade (i.e. of money), and Couchsurfing once again doesn’t fit that description.

      Furthermore, while Couchsurfing is an awesome site that helps people connect and travel, it isn’t as interesting to me as a site like Airbnb (or other paid sites), because it isn’t creating an entirely new economy that is helping people make money and do what they want to do. Sites like Airbnb have helped independent freelancers and entrepreneurs make a living and follow their dreams in a sustainable way. That’s powerful!

      Meanwhile, it seems like all the Couchsurfers out there, while being free to travel and saving lots of money by sleeping almost anywhere for free, are mostly bootstrapping it as they travel, staying on couches and in spare rooms. The positive, though, is that Couchsurfers tend to bond tightly with their hosts, whereas the same can’t always be said for Airbnb.

      Thank you, though, for mentioning this. It’s a great argument, and now I feel like I should have differentiated between the two in my post. Luckily, there are comments for all that I miss! :)

      • geeksmakemoney December 27, 2012 at 8:34 am #

        Ahh ok, I see your point. It isn’t a marketplace as such but like you mention, it has a higher degree of social currency without the economic one.

        I agree when you said a site like Airbnb opens up a whole different industry for individuals and entrepreneurs can make use of it to make a sustainable living.

        I am curious now how you would look at an exchange that is based on a barter economy? Technically there isn’t any money exchanged but each one is “richer” nevertheless. These aren’t as popular and usually don’t scale up as much as Airbnb but an economy doesn’t have to revolve around scaling up, right?

        A site like staydu for example, isn’t that popular, but the idea sounds appealing (kind of in-between Couchsurfing and Airbnb if you will) – barter small house work for shelter. Travelers get a free place to stay, hosts can get some work done in exchange. Both of these would otherwise have cost money. Would you consider that a marketplace?
        (It was one of the ideas I came up with during a brainstorming session. Too bad anything half decent I come up with, someone is doing it better than I would have anticipated!)

      • ericaswallow December 27, 2012 at 9:10 am #

        Oh, interesting. I haven’t heard of any barter-style sites like Staydu. They are certainly a marketplace, where goods or services are exchanged, instead of money, I suppose. Very cool. I’d like to learn more about barter-based marketplaces! I’m going to share this site with a professor of mine from my NYU days. I think he’ll enjoy this – he studies social marketplaces. I wonder if he has thoughts on this… cool! Thanks for sharing!

      • geeksmakemoney December 27, 2012 at 11:53 pm #

        Cheers. Glad you found it interesting. There was a businessweek article about the barter economy in general, not about staydu but as a general concept – http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-04-26/rise-of-the-barter-economy
        You might find some things interesting in that article as well.

  3. brightneighbor (@brightneighbor) July 10, 2012 at 5:36 pm #

    We started our sharing economy platform in 2007, and now the next iteration is here. Launching the full beta in 30 days… http://www.mobile.brightneighbor.com – the first mobile app to combine p2p rentals, sales, lending, and barter… for money and non-money exchanges. We are happy to see sharing behavior spread across all sorts of technologies and systems.

  4. Andrew Kinzer February 17, 2012 at 8:35 pm #

    Yup, love the peer-to-peer model. I recall folks at Startup Weekends pitching or building things around clothing or accessories. There’s one called MyDressAffair that I think is doing something like that for dresses.

    • ericaswallow February 18, 2012 at 12:07 am #

      Ooooo, wonderful! Hadn’t heard of that one! Thanks! Adding it to the list!

  5. Tableslice (@Tableslice) February 7, 2012 at 8:57 pm #

    Great story, thanks for sharing : )

    I noticed there was no category for food (only chefs). Tableslice is a marketplace for creating and sharing social experiences around food with friends and acquaintances. We’re launching soon. If you’d like early access to our private beta, let us know and we’ll include you.

    • ericaswallow February 7, 2012 at 9:03 pm #

      Would love to be invited to the beta. Sounds like fun and yumminess. You can probably guess my gmail address with amazing accuracy for the invite. :)

    • ericaswallow February 7, 2012 at 9:03 pm #

      Actually, just signed up. :)

      • Tableslice (@Tableslice) February 7, 2012 at 9:33 pm #

        Fantastic. We’ll add you to the top band of invites for early access to our private beta. We have a feeling you’re going to enjoy Tableslice, Cheers : )

      • ericaswallow February 7, 2012 at 9:39 pm #

        Awesome. Thanks!

  6. Justin Baker February 6, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

    Erica, if you’re listing parking, no one comes close to ParkWhiz.com. We parked over 15,000 customers for the Super Bowl yesterday and have parking options in over 30 major cities across the US. Check us out and let me know if you need any additional info.

    Thanks,
    Justin

    Marketing Manager
    ParkWhiz.com

    • ericaswallow February 6, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

      Congrats on the big day! And thanks for the heads up. I’m adding this to the list!

  7. Jaclyn November 30, 2011 at 7:43 pm #

    Woah, you just introduced me to some awesome new websites. I think I’ve just become obsessed with SkillShare… thank you!!!

  8. Lucy White November 27, 2011 at 7:27 am #

    Erica, my friend Benita Matofska launched The People Who Share as an aggregator for the sharing economy. They are building an ebay of sharing! check em out :)

  9. Daniel Cole November 20, 2011 at 9:08 pm #

    Very cool you get to try out so many of the collaborative consumptions sites living in NY. Just to add to your list, my startup ToolSpinner will be taking on the tool rental market for the DIY project type. Also for parking, ParkingPanda based in Baltimore. Keep it up!

    • ericaswallow November 22, 2011 at 1:06 pm #

      Cool, Daniel. Toolspinner sounds neat – definitely niche, but hey, when you need a tool, I bet it’s a great place to start! Nice work.

      Also, I added ParkingPanda to the list; thanks for the recommendation!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Numbers Behind the Sharing Economy [VIDEO] | hirepurchasecars.com - February 23, 2012

    [...] share it with others. Cars, bikes, homes, parking spots, clothes, domicile items, we name it – peer-to-peer marketplaces for all forms of products are popping adult everywhere, charity users a ability to share and steal [...]

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