I'm pretty excited about this next website I'm going to tell you about, and it's called NeighborGoods.net -- I emphasize the .net because you don’t want NeighborGoods.com, that's a whole different thing. At NeighborGoods.net, you can save money and resources by sharing your stuff with your community, friends, or people who may become your friends.
For example on the site's homepage it says that Wendy and Jason are sharing a ladder. Now that makes sense, right? I mean you probably have stuff in your home, business or garage that you haven’t used for months, and yet you're looking for something that you don’t have. This system matches up different people geographically so they can share resources.
You sign up and indicate the area where you live and what items you have that you're willing to share. Let's say I'm looking for, oh I don’t know, a ladder. I typed the word "ladder" in to the search box, and I found 748 ladders that I can borrow. The search results showed Allison who has a ladder to share, and up in Minnesota, a guy has a whole bunch of stuff: a rake, a step ladder, a shovel, a broom, a dust pan, a spade.
Figure 1: NeighborGoods.net
Now let's say I'm looking for a margarita machine, I mean, why not, right? I search for it and find that eight people have a margarita machine to share including someone named Saurabh, in India. Believe me, I'm not going to India to get a margarita machine. Clearly location is very important when you're sharing stuff. Going through the list of eight, one guy lives a thousand miles away, and someone is 490 miles away. I guess I'm not going to get my margarita machine.
Okay, but none of those people live or work near me, so to make this site relevant for you, you need to log in. I logged in with my location, and within three minutes of creating my account I was already sharing with a person named Micky.
Since I've signed up, the site knows who lives or works near me. It found 26 people within 10 miles of me who are sharing 19 things. For instance, Kathleen needs a treadmill, someone else needs a canopy, a couple of people need a motor home, and someone called GreyEcho is looking for a pet penguin -- sorry dude, I don’t have one for you.
But here are some of the things I can borrow: a sleeping bag, folding chairs, a punch bowl. There's a variety of different items being shared by people throughout the country right now. I suspect that this website is not fully populated with people and items quite yet, since I would expect to find more than 26 people within 10 miles of me, but go ahead and sign up and see who is in your area.
So I know what you’re thinking: how much does it cost? You can sign up for free and start sharing stuff for free, but if you want to be safe, you should really validate your account and that does have a fee. You validate your account for $5, and that basically makes people trust you more and plus, you can see when you want to find an item whether people are validated themselves.
Plus you can sign up as a group -- for instance your business or your apartment building. A group costs $36 for six months, so everyone in your group can then have site access and share stuff. You might also wonder what happens if something goes wrong and someone breaks your item , or perhaps they didn’t show up to pick it up or drop it off.
The site says they haven’t had any of those problems yet, but nobody's perfect. The site uses peer ratings and comments to review members and feel more comfortable about who you’re dealing with. Or you can always hit the panic button -- it's a peer-to-peer conflict resolution system -- and NeighborGoods tries to track down the item for you.
Give NeighborGoods .net a shot and see if it makes sense for you.
Andrew Lock is a self-described maverick marketer and the creator and host of Help! My Business Sucks, a free, weekly Web TV show full of practical small business marketing tips, advice and resources to help small businesses "get more done and have more fun."
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