Niche Sites Going After eBay

A host of Web start-ups are gaining traction based on the premise that they make it easier for people to buy and sell online than the company that invented the idea: eBay Inc. (EBAY).

Second Rotation Inc.’s Gazelle.com site, which offers people a set price to take used gadgets like iPods and laptops off their hands, last month more than doubled the number of products, to 18,000, that it took in compared with a year earlier.

Glyde Corp. last month launched its own online marketplace that allows consumers to sell used books, DVDs and videogames in a system that automates posting a listing, figuring out how much to charge and even mailing it out.

Many of these companies are tapping a recession-friendly opportunity they dub “re-commerce,” which essentially means using the Internet to find a second life for used stuff that usually just gathers dust on bookshelves and in garages.

Simon Rothman, Glyde’s chief executive, says Americans have about $300 billion of used media at home, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

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