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New Site Brings Used CD Market Online

By Mary Hillebrand
Oct 5, 1999 12:00 AM PT

In yet another effort to translate a common brick-and-mortar retail concept to cyberspace, Spun.com unveiled a new site yesterday that will provide Internet surfers with a market to buy, sell and trade CDs.

New Site Brings Used CD Market Online

Like its real-world counterparts, Spun.com pays for used CDs based on demand for each specific title. Therefore, the price Spun.com will pay varies as its inventory does, and Spun.com may reject some titles because they are already amply stocked.

Unlike the traditional stores, however, Spun.com does not pay cash for the used CDs, and instead offers credit toward the purchase of other new or used CDs on the site. If a seller accumulates at least $10 (US$) by selling used CDs, the seller can "cash out" the account but will receive only 50 percent of the account's value.

Passing in the Mail

Online used CD transactions require a bit of logistical trail-blazing, because both parties to the transaction are not in the same place. Since shipping the discs back and forth takes time, Spun.com allows the used disc seller to shop on credit until the exchange is completed. Visitors who want to sell CDs must first submit the title, artist and bar code from the CD they want to sell.

In most cases, the Web site will automatically search its database to determine if the title offered is one Spun.com wants to buy. If so, the site issues the seller a price quote for the disc offered. If the seller accepts that price, that amount is added to the seller's credit toward purchases on the site.

When the seller is ready to buy other CDs from Spun.com, the purchase will be secured with a credit card until Spun.com receives the seller's used discs to complete the trade. Spun.com ships the discs that the seller purchased from the site, and the seller ships the used discs to Spun.com in the same package. If a disc does not arrive in good condition, Spun.com will deduct the sale amount from the seller's account, and the remaining balance is charged to the credit card.

Big Selection, Greater Price Variety

Spun.com employs a special staff to inspect all incoming used discs. The inspectors automatically weed out CDs with obvious defects, but if a buyer finds a problem after it is shipped, Spun.com will replace it or credit the buyer's account. If necessary, a new CD will be substituted for the damaged used disc, but Spun.com promises to charge the customer the used price.

Spun.com also offers special rates to sellers of authenticated collectibles and large quantities. "Spun.com is staffed by music industry professionals/geeks who have loads of experience in pricing and verifying the authenticity of music collectibles," the company says. In addition, Spun.com stocks new CDs and will search for and order new titles that it does not have in stock.

The company plans to add gift certificates soon, pitching them as not just a convenient way to give music to other people, but also a way to avoid using credit cards for online transactions. The buyer registers for a gift certificate on the site, then mails the company a check to cover the value of the certificate. Once the check clears, the buyer -- or a designated recipient of the gift certificate -- can log onto the site at any time and spend the money.

Spun.com says it will also add the capability for visitors to listen to audio clips before they buy them.

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