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New website seeks to create online marketplace for WU students

| Staff Reporter

Six Wash.U. students are building a Craiglist-like site exclusively for the Wash. U. community, making it easier for students to connect with one another.

The non-profit site, which will be called BazaarBoy, will allow students to trade goods, services, and information all in one place. The site’s developers plan to launch by the end of the semester.

“The premise behind it is that there are a lot of factors on campus, but you can’t access them all at once” said sophomore Eric Hamblett, co-head of business development. “There are a lot of different venues for information, but no way to combine them.”

The site will center on a “Bazaar,” where students can buy and trade goods—textbooks, concert tickets, furniture, or even services like tutoring—that will be categorized by virtual “tables.”

Another section of the site, called “The Beat,” will let students search upcoming events, classifieds and bulletin boards.

The site will also provide outlets for communication among students, such as discussion boards and student-written reviews.

The site’s developers hope to avoid competing with student groups such as Lock & Chain, which holds an annual textbook sale, by having interested groups open their own BazaarBoy pages. They hope to incorporate student businesses on the site as well.

“Our purpose isn’t to cut anyone else out, but to help them grow and prosper through us,” said sophomore Parker Spielman, co-designer for the site. “We’re like a stepping stone.”

The site will also feature a Greek store where students can trade Greek products and apparel, which they hope will improve the Greek experience on campus.

The greater goal of the site is to connect students on a personal level, creating a more close-knit student body.

“It’s not just cold hard selling—you can browse, comment on something funny your friend is selling” said freshman Spencer Hewett, who works on web design and business development. “It’s a very open forum intended to build community.”

The boys also plan to set up BazaarBoy meeting spots where students who are trading can meet. This will allow them to make a personal connection and ensure the accountability of the seller—an issue with other trading websites like eBay.

“We’re really trying to incorporate is exclusivity” said Spielman. “We hope that will be a big draw.”

The website itself will not deal with transferring money, letting individual buyers and sellers arrange payments. Its developers do not plan to receive any revenue.

So far, reception to the idea has been positive. Many students enjoy the idea of buying and selling books among their peers instead of dealing with the bookstore or ordering online.

“I’d for sure be down to hit up a site like that and score some cheaper textbooks” said freshman Brett Goldberg. “I feel like I always get wrecked by online prices; besides, [this way] all the money goes back to Wash. U. students.”

According to freshman Emilio Ramos, graphic designer for BazaarBoy, the site caters well to particular student needs.

“For a lot of courses in the art school [especially], students will be split between two classes and then switch places the next semester” Ramos said. “With the site, students can simply trade one book for another, without having to buy a new one.”

Students also like the idea of the student-written reviews section.

“The housing selection process is really confusing,” said freshman Kate Doyle. “It’d be nice to have a place where I can hear past student’s experiences and find out which dorms are best and which to avoid.”

Updated information on the website’s launch is available on the BazaarBoy pages on Facebook and Twitter.

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