23 July 2007

Special for Parenthackers: Swap stuff at Zwaggle

Ryan very thoughtfully included all us Parenthackers in an invitation to use Zwaggle! I haven't tried it myself, but it looks fascinating, especially during summer clear-out mode. Thank you, Ryan!

There's a cool website, zwaggle.com, and using points instead of money, it allows you to post and get used kids stuff. We've been able to recycle a lot of kid toys and things to get newer items for our son's age. Its a lot easier to use than going to craiglist, etc. This website is by invitation only - so I went ahead and asked Zwaggle if they minded that I posted this on your website. They gave me this invite code to share with ParentHack readers:

http://www.zwaggle.com/request-invitation.php?code=ZRRR

Things I like about it:
- its easy to use (if you can do ebay, you can do this website)
- makes me feel good conserving/re-using stuff that I'd probably just end up giving to goodwill or letting it sit in my garage for too long
- giving stuff to other parents is fun

Note: This is a free trial for a for-fee service.

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FYI: I went through the whole sign-up process and then it asks for a credit card number to confirm everything. It says it's free for 6 months but I don't know if they start charging your card after that. So I didn't go through with it.

Yeah, what's up with the parenthacker who sent this in concealing the fact that it was a free trial for a for-pay service? I'm not saying there aren't services out there that are worth paying for, but it looks shifty when people try to hide info like that until after you've given up your address and other contact info.

To be clear, I don't think anyone at Parent Hacks knew this info either, so this shouldn't be taken as a slam against the site. I feel sure that no one at PH knew about the subscription fees or the fact that they would demand a CC# for a "free trial".

In short, I call BS on this hack.

Wish I had read the comments before I got started ... a 6 month free membership that requires your credit card (incl verification code) to complete the sign up? Sounds fishy to me............. Too bad, too -- seemed like a nice comment. Guess I'll just stick with Craigslist (a great source to buy and sell used kids' stuff!!).

Parenthackers: My mistake, I'm sorry. I should have looked into the fees and signup requirements more closely. I've posted a note about it.

Hi Parent Hacks,

My name is Adam and I’m one of the founders of Zwaggle. Thanks to everyone on Parent Hacks who’ve joined to today – the response has been amazing.

I would however like to respond to some of the comments about the registration process.

Let me start by apologizing for any confusion the registration process has created. We never intended to mislead or confuse anyone. Now a couple of points:

• Credit Card Information: We ask for your credit card information solely to protect the high quality membership base. The credit card info is used to prevent people from signing up multiple times under fake names. This info is used just once to cross check your name and address, nothing is ever charged to the card and then the credit card details are immediately deleted. The transaction is also fully secured with 128 bit SSL encryption.
• Membership: Yes you are on a free 6 month trial membership, but we have no plans to charge a membership fee in the future. However if that changes you will be well notified in advance and will never, under any circumstances, be charged anything without your prior approval. And since we don’t save any of your credit card info, that’s not even possible.

I understand the confusion and concerns related to the process, but I assure everyone that there is nothing fishy or dishonest here, but merely a new site that’s still learning on many levels. Also, please don’t blame Ryan or the Parent Hacks editors here, since it’s our fault for creating the confusion – not theirs. We’re working right now on improving the process to prevent these issues in the future.

Please let me know if you have other concerns, questions or comments related to the site.

Thanks for Zwaggling!

This seems like a great idea, but I went and scrolled through the available items and they all seem to be in Colorado and pickup only. I am in Seattle so this site won't work for me until it gets a little more national.

An alternative:

My Kids Closet (http://www.mykidscloset.com/mkc/index.html) calls itself an "online consignment shop"

Oops! The link above works, you just have to delete the parenthesis off the end.

Freecycle.org is open to anyone and is completely free. I have been able to get rid of tons of unwanted stuff as well as ask for tons of stuff from clothing to furniture for kids.

The community has a global spread (Seattle boasts 9488 members alone).

Once again it is a completely free swapping site to trade with people in your area!

http://www.freecycle.org (click on the groups link in the top nav to find the group nearest you)

Nothing against swapping - sounds like a great idea, but we've found that the local twin club resales are an awesome place to pick up stuff for the kids at 50-75% off retail (and some clothes still have the tags attached). We went through the last buying spree at a resale and figured we saved a couple thousand dollars buying used excersaucers, boppies, bouncy chairs, toys, clothes (some with tags still attached!). Google for 'twins club re-sale '.

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