Perhaps you’ve heard of the location-based game call Gowalla. Basically, you “check in” at places when you’re out and about and you find (or receive as bonus) virtual items for your pack. When your pack gets too full, you can stow them away in your Collection. It’s a fun way to keep up with your friends and what they are doing, as well.
Collecting items is pretty fun and sometimes hunting for a particular item can be a challenge. In some cases, you might even call it an Epic Quest™. Other times, people just make up strange games inside Gowalla like the time that several of us decided that we would fill up Sodade Coffehouse with Beatnik Poets. I know that Allen Ginsberg is smiling down on Austin from above.
So the idea would be to help people find each other so they can swap items in Gowalla. I may have items that you want and vice versa. Or perhaps, I saw an item at a spot that’s near where you are, but you don’t know it’s there.
Another option is to sit at home in your underwear and use gowallatools (oddly, not affiliated with Gowalla) to find items, but what would be the fun in that? 😉 Then you wouldn’t get out and meet people to exchange items. You wouldn’t get to check in aimlessly all over town looking for that elusive Longhorn (no, not the skull, mind you).
I don’t know that it’s worth trying to make a business off of this matchmaking process, but it would certainly be useful to have a site where you can specify your location and then it lists folks who have items to give and folks looking for specific items. Of course, you could do this ad hoc over Twitter but it would get tiresome / laborious pretty fast if you did it too much.
Ok someone, please to be building this now. Thanks!
After having a conversation with Chris Carter today (4/8/2010), I realized there’s another aspect of this that could be interesting. I saw this item at…He mentioned to me that one of the items I am missing, he had just seen at a nearby spot a couple days ago (and it had been there for a couple weeks). That’s some very pertinent information for the dedicated item seeker! So, let’s add one more concept to the marketplace, leaving us with three different ways to match:
With the I saw, you don’t actually meet someone new in person, but it still gives people the opportunity to find items they are seeking and gives others the opportunity to help out. Some people, like Chris (and myself as well), enjoy helping people. But perhaps, you offer some gaming elements, reputation, points, etc. for when people make successful exchanges.
Known implementations: None