Bite Communications hosted a get-together at a South of Market wine bar last night to introduce folks to several new companies (some are clients, some are not). We came late and had to leave early, but we had a chance to meet the founders of SwapTree, Limbo 41414 and Trulia.
Boston-based SwapTree is a site that lets people trade books, CDs, DVDs and other goods. Like the Peerflix DVD trading service we’ve written about before, users create lists of what they have and what they want, and SwapTree looks for matches. Users are responsible for getting the goods to each other. The service includes an eBay-like reputation system so that users can (in theory) know whether they are dealing with traders who are trustworthy. The service – which is about to launch its private beta – will be free. The company’s business model revolves around targeted advertising.
Limbo 41414 is a San Mateo text messaging entertainment company. Its first product is Limbo Auctions, which are SMS-based auctions. The twist here is that users win if they have the lowest, unique bid. Users allegedly are able to win prizes such as iPods and Hummers for pennies on the dollar. At the Bite event, a DVD player went for 2 cents. Limbo’s revenue comes from a cut of the text messaging fees that users pay to the mobile phone companies. Matt last mentioned Limbo here.
In Web 2.0 terms, Trulia isn’t new. It’s been out since last fall. It’s a real estate search site that now has a presence in most major metro areas, including the Bay Area. Again, advertising is the business model, in this case sponsored listings on its site. Trulia may have the toughest road to hoe among these companies – and potentially the most upside. The online real estate world has exploded in just the last six months, and home buyers are increasingly turning to the Web. But there is a ton of competition in the space, including the incumbent real estate companies. We’ve mentioned Trulia several times before.
We recorded quick (and somewhat noisy) interviews with all three companies at the Bite event. You can hear that audio here.