Classified ads jumped the print ship more than a decade ago, but sites like Craigslist, Freecycle and Quentin's Friends haven't kept pace with even basic web technology.
If you wanted to buy something used, you had to resign yourself to slogging through a text-driven ghetto. Until now. Krrb (pronounced "curb") offers a huge visual improvement as well as a whole new way to browse, giving you the ability to shop for items from around the corner, around your city or around the world. Director and editor in chief Andrew Wagner described it to TechNewsDaily as "hyper-local slash mega-global."
Say you want to buy a three-tier cake stand. Plug that into the search bar and see what pops up. There might be one nearby, or not. Using a slider below lets you to expand your search from "round the corner" (0.25 km/0.15 miles) to "you're kidding" (200 km/124 miles) to "Planet Earth."
"We saw a really big opening," Wagner said. "Goodwill made three billion dollars last year. Everybody's selling everything. We wanted to give people a tool that enabled them to help sell their merchandise."
Their revenue comes from the people who buy credits, the pro sellers, for whom they offer the most benefit. "Ebay, Etsy, FirstDibs, Amazon …everybody takes a large percentage of the transaction," said Wagner. "We don't take any."
Instead, they use a credit system. To post an item you need one credit, which cost a dollar, with price breaks starting at the purchase of 10 or more. Krrb is liberal with credit giveaways, too — you get ten just for signing up — and they don't take any percentage of the transaction. The more information you provide, the more credits you get.
"But we're not selling that information," Wagner was quick to add. "What they're interested in is building a community. A very big community. If we create a trusted environment. It eliminates questions like, 'Who the hell am I dealing with?' 'I'm supposed to bring this person money?'"
Wagner also told us about three features currently in the works: 1) a Buy Now button to let you purchase right on the Krrb site, 2) alerts when a kind of product you are interested in becomes available and 3) the ability to follow "corners," their word for a seller's page. They're also working with a moving company to offer delivery service.
"This is a platform that could be applied to anything," Wagner said. "It could just as easily be a job listing, or real estate. We're really starting to branch into food."
Follow Lisa L. Kirchner on Twitter @lisakirchner