PirateJimbo.com may not be the first name that comes to mind when thinking about where to trade goods and services in a local area, but Burbank resident David Aghazadeh is determined to "network your talents and treasures."
Aghazadeh moved to Burbank three-and-a-half years ago from Germany. While in America, Aghazadeh heard the story of Kyle MacDonald, of Montreal, who in less than two years traded a paper clip to a house.
"I think everyone should have the opportunity to trade something for something else," Aghazadeh said. "There's nothing out there that is a free service to everyone to trade and connect."
PirateJimbo.com is a social trading and network platform based on location. Users are able to post a product or service and are encouraged to trade for something of a similar value. Customers create profiles and have the option to link to their Facebook or Twitter accounts, as well as share pictures, videos, recent trades and reviews of new acquisitions.
PirateJimbo will also launch an iPhone application in the coming weeks, complete with a global satellite positioning system that will allow users to see all products or services that are available in the immediate surrounding areas. Bringing the platform to the iPhone enables those who use the application to take a picture of an item and send it immediately to the platform.
Aghazadeh developed the website over eight months with a team of six others. After spending a few months working at a CD/DVD duplication company when he first arrived in the U.S., he set out to start his own similar company, Speed Light Duplication. In the meantime, he also launched MultiPixel Development, a mobile app and iPhone app development company, making for a smooth transition for when PirateJimbo's mobile app launches.
"I think PirateJimbo has a niche and there's nothing like this out there yet," Aghazadeh said. "We want to take advantage of it."
Virginia Kuhn, associate director for the Institute of Multimedia Literacy at USC, thinks PirateJimbo is a wonderful use of social media.
"Just as Craigslist and eBay empowered users to eschew more corporate entities to get the things they need, PirateJimbo seems poised to do the same," Kuhn said. "And I think many ecology-minded people see bartering and trading and recycling goods and services as the only responsible way to conduct life in the 21st century."
Marketing for the site is set to begin in the coming months, using theaters, other social networks, blogs, forums, YouTube and the like, but PirateJimbo is not based on revenue for the first year.
"It's going to be based on traffic," Aghazadeh said. "We want people to understand and use the service first."
Kuhn agrees with this model, or at least recognizes similar practices in the industry.
"For any of these new media applications to be successful, we have seen that widespread use needs to be established first," she said.
FOR THE RECORD: This version corrects an earlier version to say 'network your talents and treasures'.