Thursday, January 31, 2008

Title Trader

I finally settled on Title Trader as my CD/DVD swap site of choice. Although I had some initial difficulty figuring out how to list my items, once I did, I was good to go, and was able to successfully trade the bulk of my items there. Also, Title Trader does not limit you to trading only CDs or DVDs. You can list all kinds of other stuff such as books, magazines, audio-cassettes, even household items ala Freecycle.

Here's how Title Trader stacked up against my criteria:

  1. Shipping

    Alas, while you can print a shipping label, inexplicably, it is not paid postage!?! nor at this time, are you able to pay for it online via credit card. . .

  2. Avoiding the Post-office

    . . .therefore you still have to go to the post-office, stand on line and deal with the quirks of the postal staff. Bummer!

    For example, I do not trust the postal service not to manhandle my CDs/DVD packages as they wend their way through the system. So, to decrease the chances of any damage during shipping, I err on the side of caution and try to pad the envelope really well. One postal clerk eyed my package suspiciously and asked what was inside. When I told him, he asked why was it so thick, was anything else in there . . .? But, after processing it he just carelessly tossed (more like hurled) it into the mail bin behind him, which is EXACTLY why I padded it to the hilt. I'm thinking to myself, "My package has hardly even gotten into the post office good, before it getting roughed up! Thankfully, so far the CDs/DVDs I've shipped seem to have arrived intact.

  3. Liner notes, artwork & case

    At Title Trader you have the option to send as much or as little of the accompanying material as you want. Some traders will note this type of information in their listing, which I found helpful in choosing with whom to trade.

  4. Simplicity

    It's very easy to set up an account. The site also loads quickly on my dial-up connection.

    Each book, CD, and DVD is worth one Request Point and can be used to request a book, CD, or DVD from Title Trader's collection once you have received positive feedback. An email notification is sent when one of your items has been requested and you can print a shipping label at that time. I listed several items, and got requests right away, but again, how quickly or how many of your items are requested will be dependent on what you have to offer.

    Although, at first I found Title Trader a little tricky to navigate (I couldn't figure out how to list my items) once I did, things went more smoothly. Searching by UPC or ISBN can also be a little tricky. Sometimes those number don't work, but then, plugging in the title or artist will yield the item. Just be forewarned that you may have to fiddle around with your search queries a bit.

    Also, in one case, I had a problem printing a shipping label because the recipient's address could not be verified in the USPS database. Although, I emailed the site for assistance on several occasions, as far as I can tell, I never received a response unlike the speedy one obtained from SwapSimple's customer service department. (see my post on that here) However, since shipping labels are not postage paid, you can manually create your own shipping label without losing anything, which is what I ultimately ended up doing.

All in all, even though the need to go to the post office is somewhat of a hassle, the site's overall ease of use and laid back feel is what won me over in the end.

One More Thing: Premium Features

Title Trader premium access costs $19.95/year. However, when you first sign up, they will give you a 30 day trial that includes a few of the site's premium features, most notably a daily, customizable, email listing newly added items

Other premium features include:

  • Wishlist Notification - email alerts when items appearing on your wish list have been added to the Title Trader inventory
  • Saved Searches - allows you to maintain a list of your most frequent searches. When an item is added to the site
  • Buddy List - allows you to bookmark your favorite users so you can keep an eye on what they have listed.
  • Safe Swap Premium Member - enhances you status as a reliable trading partner.
Again, please note that this reflects my particular experience ONLY! You're mileage may vary.

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