If two Harvard undergraduates have their way, CollegeBeans.com will make the Yard bulletin boards obsolete.
Andrew S. Chung '01 and Matthew C. Ebbel '01 have created a Web site that provides a used goods market and information service for college students.
The old-fashioned method of reselling textbooks--posting a few bright flyers on bulletin boards around Harvard, getting a call, making a few bucks--can now be done entirely online.
The students' site began in April 1999, when Harvard Student Agencies (HSA) awarded the idea $5,000, the first prize in HSA's annual entrepreneur contest.
HSA gave the business, then called HarvardMarket.com, office space. Over the summer, Chung, Ebbel and colleague Jay Moorthi '01 worked full-time on the project, and in late July, the site was reborn under the name CollegeBeans.com.
Ebbel said the site operates in a manner similar to eBay, the popular online auction site. But CollegeBeans.com is more reliable, he said, because buyers and sellers are physically closer together.
"With eBay there's an element of trust. Here, you just walk over to your friend's place [and pick up the item]," Ebbel said.
According to Ebbel, about 100 items have been posted to the site, including 90 books. He said the site receives about 500 hits per day.
"It was pretty easy to use and really good for searching for textbooks," said Jennifer Rosario '01, a Quincy House resident who bought textbooks and saved about $30.
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