Low on funds this month? Want to get rid of stuff around the house for new stuff you've been itching for?
Barter has been around since the Stone Age. Now it has come to the Web in a big way. After all, it may be junk to you, but it could be treasure to someone else.
Internet swapping has been around for years, of course, within newsgroups and bulletin boards (BBS). But the new Web sites are bringing it (even by category) to a larger, broader audience.
Each participant lists his (or her) Haves and Wants. If an item interests you, check out that person's Wants. If something of yours (or even cash) might do, then click on Make an Offer.
The swap site then notifies the owner that an offer has been made and serves as go-between, just like on the auction sites (notably EBay). Once an agreement has been made, the site supplies each side with the other's email address and the swappers arrange for shipping.
There is even a site ExchangeAnything.com for those who prefer to conduct their trades in person (rather than by mail).
Again, as with auction Web sites, none of the swap sites accept responsibility if participants do not hold up their end of the swap bargain.
Most sites offer ratings or some type of feedback system. Before making a swap, consult that person's rating. If you get a raw deal, post a bad rating for the person who had made the swap with you. Conversely, if all went well, give them a positive rating.