LendAround: DVD Lending and Sharing Online

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picture-8Tim Jackson, founder of QXL (which was one of eBay’s biggest competitors in the UK), has started a new site called LendAround.com. The site’s mission is to allow people to lend their movies to friends and family without the hassles of keeping track of who has what or whose movie you have.

The goal is for users to list their DVD collections on the site and then their friends or family can go through the collection and ask to borrow some of them. It also allows the collection owner to see who has what title (and for how long) and also facilitates trades and cross-lending so that someone with Batman: Returns can swap with someone who has, say, Spiderman II.

Jackson’s idea is that the quality of movies on the site will be better than similar services like Swaptree, since the site focuses on lending (borrowing) rather than on trading or selling. This is because people who want to trade titles are usually “getting rid of” the worst 10% or so of their collections, so the types and quality of the movies listed on these trading sites tends to be low.

People who are lending to friends and family, however, will list everything they have, with few exceptions (like collectibles or irreplaceables).

The plan is to facilitate easy swapping in person, so if the person who wants to borrow or trade a DVD with you is at work or in the same church or sports club, you can just carry the movie along with you when you’ll see them next. This will cut down on mail and make the transactions personal.

Eventually, Jackson wants to include other items in this list. I’d like to see books included, myself, since I have far-flung friends and family with whom something like this would be perfect for book-swapping.

Right now, LendAround is in private beta is free to use. Jackson’s revenue plans for the site include DVD purchases and perhaps some paid ad-on services.

Adding titles is easy through the title search or scan code that looks the title up through IMDB. I think this is a great idea for a good site and Jackson might be the right man to pull it all off. Given his track record and the type of site this is, though, I expect a bigger fish like eBay or Amazon might come along to buy it up somewhere down the line.

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5 Comments
  1. Pingback: Posts about DVD as of February 7, 2009 » DVD Newsroom

  2. TimJackson

    February 7, 2009 at 11:01 am

    Fascinating post, Craig. This is more for the fun than the money — I felt that it's simply a good thing to get people to start thinking a bit differently about the stuff they own.

    The reason for starting with DVDs is that with books, you have to spend quite a lot relative to the value of the book to mail it to a far-flung friend or relative, and you also have to weigh and package it. By contrast, you can put a DVD in the mail for the price of a standard letter, and LendAround.com gives you a downloadable wrapper with your friends' address on it.

    We'd be happy to gve your readers priority acces to our beta program. All they need to do is send a message to craigsfriends@lendaround.com, and tell us a bit about what kind of things they'd like to lend and borrow as the network grows.

  3. John Wardle

    February 10, 2009 at 8:38 am

    Have you seen http://www.uShare.co.uk. It’s unique in that it lets you borrow or lend anything you want with people in your local community and it works on a points system so you don’t have to pay to borrow the item. uShare means there’s no need to buy something you may only need to use once. Simply borrow it, use it and return it. You could also save money and help the environment! Have a look http://www.ushare.co.uk

  4. Tim Jackson

    February 20, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    Fascinating insights from Craig, there.

    One thing we've learned from our private beta users is that people tend to list a few DVDs (like 10), and then invite a few friends. Once the friends see the potential benefits to everyone they know, they start to list more and more.

    We're not building something to sell to Amazon or eBay — this is really more a social enterprise where the exciting bit is in a tiny way bringing about a small change in society by giving people the tools to share stuff more easily with their friends.

  5. Tim Jackson

    February 20, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    Fascinating insights from Craig, there.

    One thing we've learned from our private beta users is that people tend to list a few DVDs (like 10), and then invite a few friends. Once the friends see the potential benefits to everyone they know, they start to list more and more.

    We're not building something to sell to Amazon or eBay — this is really more a social enterprise where the exciting bit is in a tiny way bringing about a small change in society by giving people the tools to share stuff more easily with their friends.

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