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Get Your Money's Worth at Gamestaq

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Posted by: Stefanie Fogel

The brainchild of two New York gamers who were frustrated with the current options for buying and selling used video games, Gamestaq.com officially launched last week. It's a site that promises fair pricing and no hassles, a marketplace built by gamers for gamers. GameZone recently spoke with co-founder Joe Gindi to find out what Gamestaq is all about, and why it might be a better alternative than your local GameStop.

GameZone: What is Gamestaq?

Joe Gindi: Gamestaq is a seamless peer-to-peer marketplace for gamers to buy and sell their video games directly with each other. The seamless part of it pretty much means that buyer and seller will never need to interact with each other, which differentiates us from the auction sites like eBay, etc.

The way it works is a seller would come to the site and post his game for sale. The price of the game is actually set by us. We have an algorithm that goes out, or bots that go out, into the Net and pull in pricing from, like, 10 or 15 different sources. Then, we have our own algorithm that puts all those prices together and comes out with the perfect market price for that game. Then the seller would come see the market price and post it up for sale. Then the buyer comes to Gamestaq. It just shows the game in stock at that set price. He clicks if he wants to buy it and then all of the magic happens pretty much behind the scenes. Gamestaq facilitates the entire sale from beginning to end.

So, we would charge the card of the buyer or go through his Pay Pal and then we would provide the shipping label directly to the seller, which is a pre-paid label. They would just pack up the game and send it straight to the buyer. But there is never any interaction between them, no need for them to talk with each other, haggle with each other. [It's] very basic.

GZ: How did the idea for Gamestaq come about?

Gindi: My co-founder and I, we were originally looking to sell our video games. We’ve always traded our games back into GameStop in the past, but we were trying to find a better option to try to make some more money on our games, since GameStop gets very low trading rates on their games compared to what the games are really worth. Really, the only other options we saw at the time were sites like eBay or Craigslist and there was nothing really dedicated for gamers. So, we felt we really had an opportunity there to bring to gamers something very customized and specific, something gamers would be able to get a lot of benefit out of without having to go through the hassles and the hoops of all the other marketplaces that are out there.

GZ: Will the website have any other features besides the ability to market used games? Are you planning on building a community around the website?

Gindi: That’s a great question. We are planning to build a community around the site. Right now, the extra features that we’ve added in are that users can build their own libraries and what we call "Staqs." They can build their Staq up and they can actually show off their Staq to all the users. We have something called Staq Worth. As you add games to your Staq, it calculates how much your Staq is actually worth, or your library is worth, based on the market value. So, if you have 20 games up there, we populate on pricing and then tell you what your Staq is worth. It’s $150, $200 dollars. We’re going to be putting that up against all the other users on the site. So, it’ll tell you your ranking, how high up the line you are with your Staq Worth, etc. So, that was a fun little feature we put in.

Obviously, we have wish lists and stuff like that. We do have a profile section on the site. We do not have anything like internal messaging yet. That’s obviously a feature that we’re definitely planning on adding. We’re also obviously utilizing all the standard social APIs that are out there - Twitter and Facebook integration, stuff like that. But, yeah, we do plan on hopefully building up a community within Gamestaq to allow people to communicate about stuff that they love, which is pretty much about gaming.

GZ: So, why should gamers use Gamestaq over other retailers like Game Stop, eBay and Cheap Ass Gamer?

Gindi: Just for the record, we love Cheap Ass Gamer. The community there is unbelievable. The people that are part of that community, that forum, have supported Gamestaq in the past during our beta launch and we’re extremely grateful to them, eternally grateful to them.

On Gamestaq, there are no posting fees [like on eBay]. We do take a small fee from the seller. We actually split the fee between the seller and the buyer. We feel that that fee should be split. It shouldn’t just be lumped onto the seller. It hovers around 10 percent and the buyer pays about 5 and the seller pays about 5. There are no auctions to cover, or to worry about, or to follow, and you’ll never have to communicate with the other side of the transaction. So, actually, we're giving people the most benefit of the peer-to-peer transaction without the downside of it, which is actually dealing with the other peer.

Then, on the GameStop side, a gamer walks into a store and he wants to sell his copy of Black Ops. They’ll buy that back for probably $30 bucks. Then, they’ll put it back on the shelf for $55. It’s kind of like heart-wrenching. As a seller at GameStop, they only give you store credit. They don’t give you cash. If you do want cash and you request cash, then that value is even less than the $30 they were giving you. So, bottom line, you’re walking out of GameStop with a gift card and with a value on it that’s much, much less than your game is actually worth. If you come to Gamestaq, again, all our prices are set. You’re getting a much higher value for your game.

GZ: Is Gamestaq still in beta?

Gindi: We had a beta run of the site in late 2009. We had about 2,000 users on site testing the actual business model, to test if gamers want to transact this way and if they enjoyed it, if it was something that they would continue doing and the results were overwhelming. All the feedback that we got from gamers at the time was unbelievable.

GZ: So, is the site live now? Gamers could go right now and start buying and selling?

Gindi: They can go start transacting right now and post games for sale and buy what’s available. Absolutely.

GZ: eBay has a mobile app that let’s people track their auctions on the go. Does Gamestaq have any plans to enter the mobile apps market in a similar fashion?

Gindi: Yes. We envision it being more if you’re in your house, or you’re actually maybe even in the store -- maybe you’re actually in GameStop -- you’ll be able to scan a barcode with our app. It would show you exactly how much you would get, how much that game would be worth on Gamestaq if you wanted to sell it and how much you could buy it for instead of buying it used at GameStop, or at Toys'R'Us, or at other stores. So, yeah, that’s definitely a vision of ours and we're probably going to have it by next holiday, probably a year from now.

GZ: Anything you'd like to add?

Gindi: Pretty much we’re a bunch of gamers here. We’re just a bunch of gamers that were frustrated with the current solutions out there and we felt that 2010 was time for a better solution. We hope that other gamers will see the value in this and enjoy buying and selling games on Gamestaq.

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