Growing up, many people had hobbies focused on collecting, whether it was stickers, sports cards, pogs, or even Beanie Babies. But arguably the most important aspect of a hobby was the ability swing trades with friends. The objective, of course, was to acquire a coveted collectible– the thrill was in the hunt.
The new app Bondsy is the grown-up version of this. The iPhone app is a unique, user-friendly marketplace-meets-social -network that enables users to list unwanted items (e.g. a pair of pink headphones) to a trusted environment of interested people.
There doesn’t appear to be much competition either. Craigslist, the internet’s reigning place to quickly (and cheaply) pawn off unwanted goods, is often too seedy for even the most genuine transaction. And while Facebook’s “Marketplace” is certainly a more friendly online community, any “available items” status would inevitably get lost in the mix with the incessant influx of Buzz Feed links, funny cat videos, and ex-girlfriends’ tropical vacation photo albums.
The app itself is simple to use. To get started, a user just needs to snap a photo, write a caption, and add one or more price tags. Price tags are completely free form, allowing users to ask for whatever they might want (not just money). In addition, users can also set different price tags for friends, and even friends of friends.
But perhaps the most interesting feature of Bondsy is its “trade” option. While people can use Bondsy to sell items, the app encourages users to make a trade. To help facilitate this, users can create a list of “wanted” items as a potential return. This truly brings everyone’s childhood full circle in the mobile age.
Bondsy’s origin only adds to the genuine nature of the transaction-based social network. Diego Zambrano, the co-founder of Bondsy, accidentally came up with the app idea out of personal necessity.
“In 2007, I was moving from Brazil to New York and I didn’t want to bring anything with me. So when I decided to get rid of all my stuff, I had an insight. There were a lot of marketplaces out there, but I wanted to offer my things to my friends first. So, I came up with a hack.”
Zambrano used Flickr to upload photos of his unwanted items, and then emailed all his friends a link to it. However, instead of responding to his email, Zambrano noticed that people were directly commenting on the photos. At that moment, he knew he had created a new social experience.
The proud co-founder believes that Bondsy will be a success since users are naturally more comfortable transacting with friends, but also because there are more layers to the app than people think.
“You stumble upon things you might need and want, but didn’t know it. You can get to know more about your friends and their taste. It sparks conversations.”