One of the problems I experience about once every year is I end up with dozens of items I need to get rid of, and I have nowhere to put them (I move around, a lot). To solve this problem, I often am forced to turn to Craigslist, a neighbor’s large dumpster or a pickup service. This is less than ideal, but most of the time, there’s nothing to be done about it.
That is, until I found out about Y Combinator and Andreessen-Horowitz funded Listia. Listia, for those that don’t know, is a startup that enables people to give away their items for free. While this may sound like another company doing a Web 2.0 take on Craigslist, Listia takes a different approach than the wholesale giveaway sites.
Instead of having a listed contact for people to reach out to take hold of free items, Listia employs an auction-type model of giveaways. Users are given a set number of points for signing up for Listia and bid for these items with free points on the site. This ensures that as the bids get higher, the likelihood of a no-show decreases, as there is a (free) cost to the bidder. On top of this, 60% of the points are given to charities for use on the site. For more information on how this model works, you can read Michael Arrington’s post about Listia on TechCrunch (and for those interested, additional posts are here and here).
Today, Listia co-founder Gee Chaung shared a interesting metrics with us on how their business is progressing. They’re announcing that they’ve recently reached 1 million registered users, with listings in over 3,000 cities. In addition, they are launching their Android application today (available here), which will help them in reaching a substantially larger user base. In terms of revenue, Listia also grew 500% in the last year alone, which is in part due to the high level of interaction users have with the site: on average, users spend a little over one hour per session on Listia.
These growth metrics show that not only do people have a desire to give away things for free – while benefiting charities – they also want to do so without resorting to outdated models of advertising like Craigslist and the Want Ads.