Glyde Launches Glydecast in Search of an Informed Used Electronics Market

By Trevor Gilbert , written on June 27, 2012

From The News Desk

We've all been there, with our piles of gadgets sitting in a desk drawer, still working but unused and neglected. They sit there accumulating dust, with no clear way to dispose of them. Throw them out? Environmental problems. Recycle them? Lose whatever monetary value that you could be receiving. Let them sit for a future sale? Unless you think your iPad is the next Apple I, it’s just not worth the space.

Many turn to selling their devices on eBay, or a yard sale, or on Craigslist. Each option is subpar in its own way, but the biggest problem is that no one really knows the value of what they’re selling. A MacBook Air could sell for $500 on eBay at one point, and then $250 the next day. There’s no real industry knowledge on prices.

Trying to fix this problem is Glyde, which calls itself the “Kelley Blue Book for Smartphones," but even given the transparency of that metaphor, that’s not very descriptive of what the service does. Instead, think of it like the Kelley Blue Book (plus eBay, plus a clearance bin) for Smartphones.

The process of getting rid of old electronics, whether games, phones, or other gadgets, is to tell Glyde that you want to sell the product. Glyde then asks a few questions about the condition of the item, and calculates a price estimate. The item is then posted on the site for buyers to peruse, and buy if they want. When the product is finally purchased, Glyde sends out a pre-paid envelope to the seller, to ship the device.

The price differences between Glyde and more established retailers is a notable bonus as well. For example, if you look up an iPhone 4S from AT&T, you can grab it for $460 -- good condition, contract free. On AT&T’s website, you can get the same phone new or refurbished for $649. The nearly-$200 price drop makes using the service worthwhile on its own.

In addition to the price advantage, Glyde also has a distinct business advantage that sites like Amazon and Craiglist don't. Glyde has no inventory, like most secondary electronics marketplaces, but at the same time, it also facilitates the sales with prepaid labels for shipping. This goes a long way towards making the buying and selling process as seamless as possible.

So far, users have been appreciating the seamlessness of the transaction. The site has sees 400,000 monthly visitors, and according to CEO Drew Lieberman, many come to the site to buy video games, only to come back a week later to buy a phone, or sell a tablet.

Today, the company is launching Glydecast, a feature that will teach users how to use their devices. It’s not the type of feature that appeals to me, since it’s pretty much my job to figure out how to use electronics, but it does pass The Mom Test. That is to say, it’s the sort of thing that my parents, who aren’t technologically savvy in the slightest, would love.

The guides are simple for now, covering topics like how to wipe the content off an iPhone, what to do if your phone is stolen, and how to switch plans. It’s not revolutionary by any means, but niche product are always needed in an ever expanding market. For Glyde, the guides aren’t going to boost revenue directly, but factor into the company’s goal of educating electronics owners on the value of their devices, and on the devices themselves.

Not coincidentally, Glydecast also complements the overarching goal of the site to sell products to and from informed participants. The company pushes products, and these electronics often have personal information stored on them. Want to sell them directly to people? Then you had better make sure to wipe your information. The fact that Glyde is reducing friction for the user at every point in the sale brings real value to the users.

Moving forward, Glyde wants to follow users' lead for future product rollouts. Whether laptops or televisions, if users want a strong secondary market, Glyde wants to provide it for them. It’s a tough market for Glyde to be in, with competitors like Amazon, eBay, and Craigslist, but at the same time, focusing on the minutiae of the transaction may set the service apart from the competition.