iLetYou.com: Just like going to the video store. But online.
A new option for getting DVDs through the mail: the iLetYou DVD rental service.
iLetYou is a new rental marketplace for DVDs and video games. If you want to rent a disc but don't want to sign up for a membership service like Netflix or Blockbuster, it's a good option. Most rentals are $2 or $3 for a week, with no recurring fee. It's also likely to be more reliable than a user-to-user swapping service like PeerFlix (which I use and like, although I've learned not rely on it).
The service also looks like a good bet for mom-and-pop video stores that want to put their rental inventories online. Many neighborhood stores have eclectic collections, but exposing these to a nationwide audience--and managing a mail-order rental system--is beyond their reach. iLetYou puts all stores' rental inventories together in a big pool, which makes the iLetYou storefront potentially very valuable to renters. It's sort of like eBay: the value is in the aggregation of both buyers and sellers. iLetYou makes its money by collecting 20 percent of the rental fee. The service does not yet let store owners do much in the way of independent branding for their own stores. Founder Rodger Visitacion told me he's working on that feature.
Individual users can rent out through iLetYou as well. In other words, now you can turn that old Run Lola Run DVD that you never watch, but can't bear to part with, into a nice little earner.
After talking with Visitacion, I wasn't fully convinced that iLetYou has the details of the mail-order rental business all figured out. What happens if someone says he's returned a disc but the owner said he never got it? Will iLetYou take care of everyone? On the other hand, Visitacion was very smart about how the business was launched: He's campaigned among independent video stores for their business and won a lot of it, so even at this early stage, there is a good assortment of titles available on the iLetYou system.
The service should launch early in April.
See also DVDOvernight.