Tim 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 âˆšÂ¢â€šÃ‡Â¨â‰ˆÃ¬getting rid ofâˆšÂ¢â€šÃ‡Â¨Â¬Ã¹ 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.