Eric Johnson

Recent Posts by Eric Johnson

Interview: Mobixa CEO Says You Should Trade In Your iPhone Now

Mobixa is a new mobile phone trade-in site that’s patterning itself after recently acquired travel site Kayak. The notion is that, in a field of many options for trading in your obsolete iPhone or Android smartphone, Mobixa can accurately tell you when is the right time to swap it for some dough — both in terms of whether you’re eligible in the first place and how much you can get for it.

AllThingsD caught up with CEO David Safai for a few questions in time for the site’s official launch today:

Your parent company, IMC Inc., has been refurbishing traded-in used phones from stores for years. Why get into the consumer end of things?

Now is the best time to enter the consumer market, since over 50 percent of mobile users now have smartphones. Many of the devices are worth $500 to $650 that carriers subsidize, which results in strong demand in the secondary market worldwide for used, clean phones.

What added risks come from being the intermediary between buyers and sellers, rather than working on behalf of retailers?

No risks at all. In fact, we have thousands of retailers that will benefit from our programs designed to support prepaid iPhones and other various programs for retailers.

How do you determine when is a good time to recommend a phone trade-in? Do your recommendations change depending on the age or condition of a user’s current phone?

The best time for consumers to sell their old phones is right after the launch of new phone models that are in high demand, like the iPhone 5. That’s when prices are still high in the secondary markets. We are able to buy back phones in a variety of conditions — even ones with a cracked screen. This is something that most people don’t know.

So, why would someone buy a broken phone?

Mobixa has customers that fix broken phones, and they’re looking for these exact phones to match their business model.

What sort of cut will you get from the sale of these used phones?

Mobixa will likely be breaking even in the beginning or even losing money to build brand recognition, but believe we will make a fair margin once our volume goes up. We anticipate a fair, balanced formula where the consumers win and so does Mobixa and [so do] its clients.

What sort of guarantees can you give users that their phone’s old data is completely wiped and inaccessible to future owners? Should they try to delete their phones’ data before they send them to Mobixa?

We have developed software that clears data off of all phones. We have found that the vast majority of users selling back their used smartphones are clearing out their phone’s data before sending them in. However, that is not necessary.

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— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald