Do you have a video game or book that you don't need anymore — and another video game or book that you'd like to own? A new website launched by a Libertyville High School graduate may be able to help.
Adam Ahmad, 18, just launched a site called Swapidy, where people can swap goods with others.
"You can stay in your house and literally trade with anybody nationwide," said Ahmad. "That's the real beauty of it."
Ahmad said his inspiration to create Swapidy came from his experiences with using online classified advertisement or auction sites during his previous entrepreneurial adventure.
When Ahmad was just 11 years old, he loved playing on the PlayStation Portable (PSP), but his parents were not so fond of continually buying him new games.
Ahmad sought out a solution. After doing some research online, he created his own open-source software that allowed him to play free online games on his PSP. He ultimately put together a kit with the software and sold it to classmates and on Craigslist, eBay and Amazon. He sold the kits for $70 to $80 apiece.
"I made a pretty good amount of money at 11," said Ahmad.
While using the online sites, however, Ahmad said he noticed some problems, including the uncertainty that what people see in pictures will be what they actually receive.
"That causes a lot of disputes," said Ahmad. "There are a lot of scams."
"I thought, 'How can I mash up these two things and make it safe, secure and simple?'" said Ahmad. "Swapidy makes it really secure to transact."
Swapidy allows traders to list items, negotiate deals and then swap those items online. Ahmad launched the site with three categories — books, video games/consoles and gift cards — and plans to add more later based on users' votes.
Right now, for example, the book listings on Swapidy include titles like Catching Fire from the Hunger Games trilogy and Night by Elie Wiesel. Items in the video games/consoles category include Modern Warfare 3 for Xbox 360, an original Xbox console and Guitar Hero II for the PlayStation 2.
Traders' fears of possibly getting a video game or console that does not work properly are alleviated by Swapidy's "verification center," as Ahmad calls it. Traders send their items to Ahmad's Swapidy office and the items are all verified before being shipped to their intended recipients. For video games, for example, Ahmad said Swapidy has in-house video game consoles to test them on to "make sure it's really operational."
Traders pay a transaction fee — typically ranging from $1 to $10 — for these services, Ahmad said.
He hopes eventually to have a wide variety of categories, possibly even cars. The next new category will be added to the site July 14. Users are voting on the new category. So far, cellphones have 107 votes, while iPods and tablet PCs have 78 and 52, respectively.
"I'm dreaming big, I guess," said Ahmad.
He is so passionate about this dream that he is deferring college for a year to build his business.
"I want to see where I can take this company," said Ahmad. "It is a huge risk, but in the end, this is where my passion lies. I could see this being the next eBay, to be honest."
Swapidy already has 2,387 Facebook "likes" and 3,272 Twitter followers.