Internet Garage Sale is Invite Only - FOREVER

Craigslist will get you killed, Ebay could rip you off, and estate sales require putting on pants and leaving the house. The horror.

So what is an internerd with too many USB cables and not enough, I don't know, other nerd junk to do? My advice is to beg, plead, and cajole your way into Steven Frank's Internet Garage Sale a "members-only, trust-based online auction site" created to help honest people buy and sell stuff on the web.

Frank is the co-founder of Panic- an insanely popular Portland, OR based Mac software company. On his blog Frank says  "as a gadget hound I accumulate tons of tech that I eventually need to get rid of to fund the purchase of newer tech. Tired of Craigslist and eBay, I put up a static HTML page with a few items, and asked people on Twitter to check it out and place bids if interested." As mentioned, access to the site is invitation only, limiting the risk factor by providing an easy way to trace and ban anyone who attempts to mistreat another member.

"In a nutshell, if someone rips you off, doesn't complete the transaction in a timely manner, doesn't abide by your terms, or is just an asshole, they're gone. Banned for life. Furthermore, we'll look at who invited the bad apple, and possibly lower their karma too depending on circumstances" says Frank.

When asked via email if the sale would ever be open to the general public, Frank said, "we (I) really want to know who brought who into the site, so moderation/banning is not just an idle threat if someone is a bad seed. While I hope the site grows to have a lot of members, quality is absolutely more important than quantity."

Which leads one to wonder about social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter- what would their business model look like now if they had stayed in private beta? Obviously the growth would have been much slower, but would their reputation or potential for revenue have suffered or prospered? What do you think? Let us know in the comments!

Follow Steven Frank on Twitter! @stevenf
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