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SwapThing improves services exchange

SwapThing improves services exchange

I covered SwapThing in July, and criticized its user interface. I'm happy to report that a new version of the service, launching tonight, is a lot more attractive and easy to use, and it's also much simpler to enter items you want to exchange: Just type in the UPC or ISBN, and the system will get the name or title of your item.

SwapThing is also rolling out a redesigned services exchange. Previously, you could swap work for goods, but it was a bit of a force-fit: Services were treated much like physical items, and people who were interested in services offered couldn't easily get enough information on the provider to decide if they wanted to make a trade.

The new services trading system allows service providers to buy placement on SwapThing ($8 a month for local exposure, $10 a month national), and to display more information about their company, turning a listing into a good and persistent online advertisement. (SwapThing is also integrating the Rapleaf reputation system.) It still costs $1 per swap when swapping with a service provider, but there are no additional fees for the provider.

It is, in many ways, yet another services directory, but it's integrated into a growing trading network, which could make it very interesting to individual service providers, most of whom would probably be happy to occasionally exchange their work for physical goods--or other services on the network.

See also LinkedIn's new service provider network.