Collecting Vinyl Records Interview with Mark Klein and Mike Saffert of Splug.com
This is where a new social bartering site called Splug.com helps facilitate the trading. Let's introduce two people directly involved with the new community:
Mark Klein (Founder/CEO) and Mike Saffert (Senior Product Manager) are two of the main players involved in launching the new barter website, Splug.com. Mark was in charge of video promotion and post-production at Epic Records in the days of Michael Jackson, Gloria Estefan, Oasis, and many others. He then went on to start a successful music promotion company and then DXagency, one of the very first all-digital engagement firms in the country.
After years touring and releasing albums with his band Hidden In Plain View, Mike eventually found himself joining the team in DX's accounts department. Mike is huge into vinyl trading and has been known to make a barter or two for various breweriana.
Spurred by their backgrounds in music and the growing popularity of collecting vinyl, Mark & Mike have targeted vinyl records as one of the first categories to populate on Splug.com Here’s what they had to say about their new site:
RB: What is the goal of Splug.com?
MK: Actually the goal is for “Splug" to become a verb. Just like people “FedEx” or “eBay” something, we want them to say “I’ll Splug it” when they want to trade something with their friends.
MS: There are a lot of sites out there where you can just trade one type of item like vinyl or video games. We wanted to create a community where you could trade anything for anything else, a guitar for a surfboard or therapeutic massages for accounting work.
MK: Absolutely. We see house painters painting beach houses and then getting a free week’s seaside vacation. It’s all about the collaborative economy. People have fun trading with each other, particularly when they know they can trust their trading partners.
RB: What does the name mean and where did it come from?
MK: Great question. Splug is short for Social Plug. As society moves toward a cash less economy, we wanted to build a community where you could use social media to create a safe and trusted environment to barter for things you want. So “Splug’ was a catchy name that seemed to sum it all up.
RB: Why should a user choose Splug over other retailers/vendors?
MS: Well, to begin, Splug isn’t a retailer or a vendor. It’s a community made of collectors. And the urge to collect never goes away, even if your interests change. Everybody has lots of things in their closets they aren’t using or collecting any more, so Splug lets you peer in each other others closets and make great trades. It’s actually a pretty ‘green’ way of sharing still usable items. Tons of things can be recycled and find happy homes with new owners.
MK: Not to mention, it’s fun. I’m a serious collector of pinball machines. After I had been collecting a while, I realized the hunt is always more fun than the kill. Locating what you want and then horse trading to make a great deal is really the fun part.
RB: How is your site different, what will make it 'tick'?
MK: Different from what? It’s pretty much different from everything else because it brings together people with common interests to trade things they really care about. Being able to share those interests in a trusted environment is what makes it tick. We use social sites as filters so you can determine who you feel comfortable Splugging with. Sites like Craigslist and even eBay have a lot of anonymity and uncertainty built in … you never really know who you’re dealing with. On Splug, you can trade with just your Facebook friends, friends or friends or everyone. You set your own level of trust.
MS: Another great differentiator is that you can list ‘wants’ on Splug. If I’m looking for something special, I list it as a want. If you happen to have that certain something, you can search the ‘wants,' find me, and then send me a trade offer.
RB: Will there be seller ratings?
MS: Yes, you'll be able to give star ratings to users you conduct Splug trades with.
RB: Who pays for shipping?
MK: That’s part of the negotiation. A lot of the trades will likely be between local friends so the exchanges can take place in person. On long distance trades, the trading parties can work out the logistics using the instant messaging feature that is built right in to Splug to work out all the details. And to make it all very easy to use, we’re integrating one-click shipping.
RB: How do you support/make right any problems between traders?
MS: Splug is not actually a party to the trade, think of it more as a venue. But because of the social nature of the site, the Splug community will play a huge role. No one wants all of their friends to know they screwed someone in what was supposed to be a fair deal.
MK: Plus, if you’re trading with a friend of a friend, you can 'pre-qualify’ your prospective trading partner by checking him out with your friend to make sure he’s a reliable and honest person that you would want to Splug with.
RB: If a person doesn't have a FaceBook account, can they still participate on Splug?
MK: Yes, we’re working on integrating direct Splug sign-up right now. Next up will be LinkedIn integration, which will be great for the business trading community, and then Google+.
MS: Thanks for the opportunity to talk with you, Robert. Before we sign off, I want to let everyone know I’m really into collecting vinyl from The Bouncing Souls. If you have anything interesting, list it on Splug and I’ll be talking to you soon!
For vinyl record collectors, Splug offers a way to trade unwanted or duplicate records in their collections - for records they have been searching for; all in a trusted social community. Try finding that at an online vinyl record vendor or a local record store. Finding and acquiring vinyl records has just moved into the 21st century with Splug!
But the phenomenal part of Splug, is that the site isn't limited to vinyl; you can trade for just about anything, opening up new avenues for collectors worldwide!
Want to trade some records? Start Splugging away and sign up HERE