What if you could turn that collection of video games and DVDs collecting dust on your shelf into a rental shop? That’s the promise of PlayInterChange, a new site launched this month that’s hoping to enable consumers to turn themselves into a mini-Blockbuster or Netflix. You can list your media or build a list of requests for other media, and PlayInterChange will make the connection between buyers and sellers or renters.
The site is currently in beta, and a quick browse of its ‘recently traded’ and ‘available now’ sections shows that there’s not much there there. And while Amazon offers a similar service for buying and selling used media, the rental aspect is what’s really intriguing.
The idea is that you list the titles you have for rent or sale, or if you’re shopping, list titles that you want to see and hope someone fulfills your request. It’s up to the users to set their own price on sales and rentals, and to ship and return items. PlayInterChange charges $.50 for brokering the transaction. In the case of rentals, the full sale price is levied against the renter, so that if an item is not returned, it defaults to being a sale.
The money changing hands seems to be locked in the system as PlayCash. For instance, if I make $100 renting and selling items through PlayInterChange, it doesn’t look like they’ll cut me a check — I’d have to spend my earnings at PlayInterChange. I’d see that as a marked disincentive for a heavy volume seller or renter, such as an existing video rental shop, that I imagine would be the backbone of such a system. Without the service and selection these potential core customers would enable, buyers and renters aren’t likely to flock to the site.
Still, a very interesting concept. And because the trades are real goods, it would seem perfectly legal. The only problem is that if they don’t reach critical mass before a bigger player such as Amazon or eBay steals their thunder, it could be too little, too soon.