Thursday, November 29, 2007

freecycle network

Looking for some great bargains for the holiday shopping season? Before you pay full price, "ShopSmart" magazine shares smart advice on how you can save a significant amount of money with your cell phone, online coupon codes and more:

These five bargains don't require any extra work. You just need to know where to look for them. Once you do, you can save a significant amount of money very easily.

FruCall (, 888-DO-FRUCALL)
Peering at products on a screen the size of a sugar packet is hardly an ideal way to shop. But your cell phone is great for doing a quick price check. Say you're in a store looking at a big-screen TV and the salesperson is offering what seems like a can't pass-it-up deal. You could step outside, punch up a shopping-comparison site on your cell phone, and check to see if you can get the TV for a lower price elsewhere.

Story continues below ↓


Using a mobile phone and either placing a phone call, using text messaging or the mobile version of their Web site (or maybe sneaking onto an Internet-enabled computer at the store itself), FruCall can look up the price of the product you're looking at and let you know if it's cheaper anywhere else. All you need is the product name, the model number, or its bar code/UPC number. Contact the toll-free number (888-DO-FRUCALL) and enter a product's 12-digit bar code. There is no sign-up fee, and there is no monthly fee.

If you like the idea of comparison shopping via cell phone, another new service is Slifter (, which is currently focused on electronics and sporting goods. You punch in the product info and your ZIP code and it will point you to the nearest stores and provide their prices. "ShopSmart" offers a service that delivers "Consumer Reports" ratings. Or you can check out other cool shopping tools designed specifically for phones.

Online coupon codes
If you shop online, you've probably noticed that when you check out, most Web sites have a space for you to enter an "online coupon code." These codes can save you tons of money, but if you don't have one readily at hand, you might not think twice about it. That's a mistake! You might be able to find one by surfing the Web. Dozens of sites list discount codes for online stores — but not always the one that you're looking for. A quick way to zero in on promotions: Type the store name and "coupon code" into a search engine like Google.

Although no one site will give you everything you need, using a combination of different sites can help you find what you're looking for. Some of our favorites: is nicely organized. has a huge number of retailers. has a busy message board where members post codes they have found. clues you in to rebates and freebies.
The Freecycle Network™ (
Need a ski rack, fertilizer spreader or ferret cage? You might be able to nab it for nothing at the online bulletin board The Freecycle Network™ is a community-based service made up of 4,182 groups with 4,130,000 members across the globe. It's a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving and getting stuff for free in their own towns. Each local group is moderated by a local volunteer. Membership is free, and you join a specific community group that includes your geographical location. People in your area will post items they want to give away.

The caveat: This setup isn't a one-way street — you are expected to post your goodies for swap, too. However, it's an easy way to get odd items from people close to where you live. The products on this site really run the gamut — electronics, furniture, and every odd and end. It also prevents unnecessary waste and keeps good stuff out of landfills. Oh yeah, and it's entirely free!

If you like this community-based site, you can search the Web for other newsgroups of like-minded bargain hunters on yahoogroups. It's like having an extended family looking out for you!

Vote: Are you a bargain hunter?

Out-of-order hotel rooms
Most people will be traveling to visit family this holiday season, and if you're looking to stay at a hotel (as opposed to crashing with the folks), here's a tip that might help you get a cheaper hotel room. When making a reservation or upon arriving at the hotel, ask if the hotel has any "out-of-order" hotel rooms available. Some rooms may have a minor defect, such as a broken TV or a carpet stain that hasn't been fixed yet, but that you may be willing to live with. Make sure to get precise details on exactly what the defect is, and be ready to negotiate for a price you're comfortable paying.

We should point out that when traveling, hotels in general offer a lot more leeway with cost than with any other travel expense. If you're savvy, hotels are the one place where you could really save a significant amount of money.

For starters, a lot of hotel chains are franchises, which means they are individually owned. So your best bet is to wait until you get there and find out what the staff there is willing to do for you. If asking for an out-of-order room doesn't work, ask what other deals they might be able to offer you. If they aren't willing to budge on price, try to negotiate some freebies, like free breakfast.

More from 5 Things You've Never Heard Of:
Jim Cramer's 5 life-changing investments
5 phone numbers that will change your life
5 good-for-you, bizarre foods

If you book your room through a site where you prepay, you can at least try to negotiate for freebies. It doesn't hurt to ask.

By the way, if you're looking to save money on hotel rooms, and out-of-order hotel rooms aren't quite your speed, try This site specializes in getting rid of excess rooms for various hotels. You pick a location and a particular number of stars, and the site will give you all the prices for available hotel rooms in that area at that level. However, the site won't give you the name of the hotel until you pay. That's because the discounts can be so good (in some cases hundreds of dollars) that the hotels don't necessarily want to associate their name with those prices.

Dynamic pricing
This one is a little more complicated. Due to a little-known trick called "dynamic pricing," you could be charged a different amount for the same item as someone else when shopping online. The price offered by a Web site depends on the time of day, the availability of the product and whether you've looked at the item online before, which is traceable through the use of cookies. Sometimes, when you have looked at an item online before, retailers will charge you a slightly higher price the next time you view that item, because they already know that you are interested.

In order to take advantage of dynamic pricing and get the best possible deal, do multiple searches on several price-comparison sites in different browsers (such as Internet Explorer or Firefox) and even on separate computers to check if prices vary. You can also clear out cookies from your Web browser to cover up those electronic footprints.

For more great shopping tips and information, check out
EVIRONMENTALIST is urging Winchester residents to join a growing network of people fighting to reduce the city's waste.

Giles Gooding said more than 2,000 people in the district have signed up to Winchester's Freecycle Group, which the 37-year-old set up in July last year with the aim to reduce the amount of the city's rubbish going to landfill.

The email list exchanges a range of items between its members, which means homes are found for goods that would otherwise be consigned to the rubbish bin. Dehumidifiers, speakers, Hoovers and beds have been among the goods offered to list members, in the last fortnight.

Mr Gooding, said: "When I came across the idea I thought it was good because there's lots of things people don't want. It's not necessarily things of great value.

"People buy things, fashions change and people don't then want them. Lots of them are then just taken to the dump. Freecycle just prevents them from doing that and the extra carbon footprint associated with creating new products.

"It's a local community. I like the fact that people are helping each other. Most people join the group to help other people.

"We have had one or two businesses who have not been honest about what they're doing. Some people take things to sell on, which is not what the group is really about.

"I'd urge people to consider Freecycle when they are chucking perfectly good items out. There's always some out there that will want it!"

Clare Read, a Freecycle member from Alresford, said she has used the community to get items as varied as guttering, bike helmets and an acoustic guitar kit.

The 47-year-old added: "I think it's absolutely brilliant. It stops landfill sites being filled and it makes use of something.

"You see cars being advertised and electrical equipment that's broken! I have heard that people have furnished whole flats from the list."

Mike Mordecai, co-ordinator of Winchester Friends of the Earth, said: "We live in a throwaway society and recycling makes sense so it's something we would encourage.

"The more people that recycle the better, whether that's rubbish or things that are perfectly useable to someone else."

The Freecycle Network was launched in May 2003 to promote waste reduction in Tuscon, Arizona, and to save the desert landscape being taken over by landfills.

The network has around four million members in more than 4,000 regional groups mainly in America, Europe and Australasia.

For more information, visit

The Freecycle Network
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards.
Please improve this article if you can. (June 2007)

For other uses, see Freecycle.

The Freecycle Network (often abbreviated TFN) is non-profit organization registered in the state of Arizona, USA, that organizes a worldwide network of "gifting" groups, aiming to divert reusable goods from landfill. It provides a worldwide online registry, and coordinates the creation of local groups and forums for individuals and non-profits to offer and receive free items for reuse or recycling, promoting gift economics as a motivating cultural outlook. "Changing the world one gift at a time" is The Freecycle Network's official tagline.

Contents [hide]
1 Background
2 Successes
3 Controversies
3.1 Corporate sponsorship
3.2 Management structure
3.3 Trademark
3.4 Deletion of groups
3.5 Free speech
4 Notes and references
5 See also
6 External links
6.1 Official sites
6.2 News and media

[edit] Background
The organization originated as a project of RISE Inc., a nonprofit corporation, to promote waste reduction in Tucson, Arizona. RISE subsequently handed it over to the project leader, Deron Beal. Beal set up the first Freecycle e-mail group for the citizens of Tucson. The concept has since spread to over 50 countries, with thousands of local groups and millions of members.

Each local group currently exists as a Yahoo! Groups mailing list run by volunteer moderators. TFN encourages the formation of new groups, subject to approval by regional New Group Approvers (NGAs). Groups approved by TFN are listed at the official website, can use the name and logo, and are subject to rules enforced by a structure of global and regional GOAs (Group Outreach Assistance). TFN originally planned to move in 2004, then in 2005, and then in early 2006 from Yahoo! Groups to a centralized site, custom-made for the purpose; these plans have now been rescheduled for 2007.

[edit] Successes
TFN has grown rapidly into a global organization of over 3800 (October 2006) local chapters [1], and passed the 2 million member mark in February 2006 [2]. As of August 14, 2007, the membership stands at 3,354,732 across 4,001 communities. The original idea has since been copied and varied by hundreds of similar groups around the world.

[edit] Controversies
The factual accuracy of this article is disputed.
Please see the relevant discussion on the talk page.
This article or section may contain inappropriate or misinterpreted citations that do not verify the text.
Please help improve this article by checking for inaccuracies. This article has been tagged since June 2007. (help, talk, get involved!)

[edit] Corporate sponsorship
In February 2005, Deron Beal accepted TFN's first corporate support of $130,000 from Waste Management, Inc..[3] This polarized opinion amongst group moderators.[citation needed] Some saw it as a sensible way of raising funds from a company Beal describes as America's "largest recycler", but others saw it as selling out to corporate interests. Further criticism was provoked by a decision to take paid Google ads on the TFN web site, contrary to the initial stated principles, and by Beal's green ambassador role for WMI.[4] A second grant from Waste Management was received by TFN in February 2006 in the amount of $100,000, bringing total funding to $230,000 from WMI.[citation needed]

[edit] Management structure
Further criticism has focused on the close-knit friends-and-family board structure, which delayed full registration as a non-profit. Although set to a nominal limit of 15, to date it has been limited to founder Deron Beal (chairperson and treasurer), his wife Jennifer Columbus (vice chairperson) and friend Jolie Sibert (secretary), prompting accusations of nepotism. Beal defends this as a necessary interim measure whilst the organization grows rapidly.[citation needed]

[edit] Trademark
Beal has been criticized for vigorously defending TFN's trademark, at the expense of closing down functioning community groups and imposing precise rules on logos and language for groups. Beal insists this is solely to prevent commercial interests taking the name and establishing an inappropriate Critics claim that it could equally be protected from corporate abuse by establishment as a generic term. A formal trademark opposition [5] was filed in January 2006. FreecycleSunnyvale filed a lawsuit in federal court against The Freecycle Network [6] in January 2006. An injunction was granted against Sunnyvale Free's group moderator Tim Oey in May 2006 for allegedly disparaging the TFN trademark.[7] This injunction was stayed in July 2006 and was eventually dissolved by the Ninth Circuit in September 2007[8]. During 2006, in order to defend their trademark TFN also pursued other free recycling groups who either mentioned the term "freecycle" or allegedly had "confusingly similar derivations thereof", [9], and made similar threats to a UK community arts festival in 2007 [10]

The term "freecycle" is speculated to have first been used by David Hoekstra [11] "Salvager Dali" in Toronto.[1] The concept and term "FreeCycle" were used and trademark asserted by Hemp Online Inc in 2000.

[edit] Deletion of groups
TFN has removed from YahooGroups many groups not registered, or subsequently de-registered, on their web directory of Freecycle groups. The Freecycle Network cites "refusing to comply with its practices and direction" as the reason for this. Group moderators receive cease-and-desist emails and a request made to Yahoo! to close the group account. The criteria for action, to quote from a TFN warning e-mail, "trademark-protected Freecycle name and logo, as well as any and all copyrighted texts, graphics, rules, and guidelines, in any part of the group including the title, or its URL". However, moderators report being offered no reason associated with the e-mail announcing imminent removal. Deleted groups are often replaced by so-called "astroturf" groups, set up by a central team of interim moderators (IMods).

[edit] Free speech
Free speech advocates, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and 38 law professors filed an Amicus brief [12] to oppose a trademark infringement lawsuit TFN filed against Tim Oey. The basis for the opposition is that the lawsuit violates First Amendment rights. Separately Lawrence Lessig, Jimmy Wales, and some other law professors filed a second amicus brief [13] also supporting Tim Oey.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home