An e-commerce site, dubbed Intellibarter, was launched Christmas Day to provide an alternative to waiting in line at the mall to return unwanted gifts.
Intellibarter is one of a growing number of Net barter sites that let users trade goods without any cash changing hands.
"We are taking an old idea--barter--in a new direction," according to Intellibarter. "Our goal is to provide a place for people to research and trade their collectibles, personal items, sports equipment or just about anything."
User's register for the service, enter the items they wish to trade, and look for other items they may want to receive in exchange. Categories include art, books, antiques, computer equipment and, of course, Beanie Babies.
A service called "advice seekers" will be added later to help users learn and share knowledge about their interests.
Like other Net businesses, barter sites face numerous challenges. The biggest: building up a critical mass of traders.
Other barter sites include Bartertrust.com and Ubarter.com. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is nurturing a business-to-business barter firm, code-named Doublebill. Most of these sites typically are aimed at business-to-business transactions.