From recipes to ride sharing, collaborative consumption is changing how we get and give.
It’s almost time to buy the Thanksgiving turkey and pull out the Christmas lists. But as the Web explodes as a place many will go to shop, so are sites where we share what we have or do — and you can make money, or save some.
It’s called online sharing or collaborative consumption and it’s when we go to airbnb to stay in someone’s home and Parking Panda to park in their driveway. The choices are swelling for how we can use it for the holidays. Zaarly.com is a virtual bakery where you can buy 20 blueberry scones for $88 and a homemade apple pie for $33. But if the thought of $4 scones gives you heartburn, you can buy 10 Thanksgiving recipes for just $5 on fiverr.com.
The game changer is social media.
Lauren Anderson, director of CollaborativeConsumption.com says online sharing takes a lot of trust because, after all, you’re staying in someone’s home and eating scones baked by a stranger. Social media is helping many people make that leap of faith through more two-way reviews and visibility to online reputations.
Anderson says by logging into airbnb through Facebook, for example, it makes it easy to see which of your friends have stayed where, who are hosts themselves and if they know another host. She reminds us it wasn’t that long ago when we were thrilled just to have something arrive on our doorstep after buying it on eBay or Amazon. Our standards are higher now and we want to learn as much as we can about who we’re buying from.
Kevin Zittle, co-founder of online volunteer site GoVoluntr.com, is someone who welcomes the very positive reviews on airbnb of him as a guest.
Here are other ideas to try online sharing over the holidays:
- Save by getting your holiday party dress at http://www.wishwantwear.com. You actually get a backup size for free.
- Hire someone to run your errands at Taskrabbit so you can actually enjoy the holidays.
- Clean out your closets and send the hand-me-downs to thredUP (where they’ll sort through the clothes, photograph and post them).
- Give a gift subscription to a car-sharing service like Zipcar, Relayrides or Getaround or even a membership to a co-working spacelike Hub SoMa, Loosecubes, The Hub, New Work City, Parisoma, Office Nomads and Citizen Space.
- Give the gift of a stay at a ski chalet on sites like Airbnb, Roomorama or Crashpadder.
- And instead of buying new, surprise with a thoughtful gift from a secondhand marketplace such as eBay, Freecycle, Freally or Swap.com.
The growing popularity of collaborative consumption fits into an overall trend of re-thinking how we consume. We want to reduce the amount of stuff we own — or store — be kinder to the environment by wasting less, tap the power of the Web to make money, and be associated with a good cause.
And as with many trends today, collaborative consumption is gaining new fans and visibility as people become more comfortable using technology in general. Give it a try yourself this year if you haven’t already, and kick start your new year’s resolutions. You may get more than you expected!
Share with us how you share online, what sites you use and the experience you’ve had.