Swap Site Launches PlayStation2 Promo

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Switchouse.com, an online swapping service for consumer goods, today began a Sony PlayStation2 promotion as part of a customer attraction and acquisition exercise.

The PlayStation offer rides on the popularity of the Sony console and is tied in with Switchouse's ongoing "Win Your Want" contest, which gives registered members a chance to win books, music, games and movies by simply listing 20 items they have or want to swap.

"The goal is to create some buzz in the gaming community and drive more traffic to our site," said Paul Yiu, vice president of marketing at Switchouse.

The PlayStation2 giveaway starts less than two months after the game was released in Japan. The product will launch by late summer or fall in the United States. Sony projects around 10 million consoles will sell worldwide by the end of the year.

Each weekday from April 24 through May 1, a lucky winner gets the Japanese version of PlayStation2. A second winner wins everything up to $500 on his or her want list.

"We expect to see a sharp rise in membership and listings on the Switchouse site," Yiu said. "Having seen the results of PlayStation2 sales in Japan, we're hoping to have some of that success rub off on us."

Switchouse, which like eBay carries no inventory, calls itself a new form of person-to-person e-commerce.

Users register to exchange goods they no longer want or enjoy. The system then matches the user with the most likely swap partners, who have Switchouse pseudonyms and swap ratings.

An interested user clicks on a listed entry, triggering an e-mail from Switchouse to the person with the goods. The recipient, whose identity is revealed after agreeing to the swap, can then directly deal with the seeker.

The trading community has crossed 300,000 product listings and gained more than 30,000 members since it went live last November.

The online swap market has attracted a lot of attention in recent months. Besides Switchouse, companies like WebSwap.com and MrSwap.com have the same swap goal.

Another new service, SwapIt.com, allows people to send in used CDs for credit and then order from an inventory of used CDs. SwapIt fulfills all orders.

Though Switchouse has yet to figure how to charge transaction fees from swaps, it will rely on advertising and relationships with retailers.

In fact, it's ties with retailers are most crucial. Based on observations of user tastes, Switchouse will collect this data for retailers to better understand consumers.

Almost 800 users want the new Santana "Supernatural" CD on the Switchouse Web site, for example, and about 500 users are offering it. Switchouse will partner with retailers to provide a buy option for the 300 users that can't currently swap for Santana's CD.

"The supply and demand information in our swap market, in aggregate, is enormously valuable to manufacturers and retailers," Yiu said. "The popular trend in the Switchouse swap market can give manufacturers and retailers unique insight into how consumers perceive their merchandise."

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