Students launch a Penn-focused ‘Craigslist’

UPennPost puts student sellers and buyers with each other online

· September 26, 2012, 11:35 pm

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Penn now has its own Craigslist.

With 3,000 visits in the past month, UPennPost is a Penn-exclusive online marketplace for students to buy, sell and barter any item or service. Inspired by Craigslist, UPennPost also allows students to post jobs, sublets, leases and activities on the site.

Wharton and Engineering junior Ryan Marschang and Engineering junior Richard Liu founded and softly launched the website in July.

“When you move out of your dorm, you have a bunch of things you want to sell, but it’s hard to find people to sell them to,” Marschang said.

Despite the existence of Penn Book Bazaar and Pennlets for textbooks and sublets, Marschang and Liu created the site to aggregate these ideas into a single outlet.

Penn Book Bazaar is an online marketplace started by the Undergraduate Assembly for Penn students to purchase and sell textbooks at a price 25 to 40 percent less than the Penn Bookstore. Currently undergoing improvements, Penn Book Bazaar will integrate a new feedback system and also allow students to log in via Facebook, said PennApps Labs’ product evangelist Roy Weiss.

Pennlets is a new website that launched last February for students to find housing. Currently down for construction, Pennlets intends to debut again in the spring.

“Over the summer we decided to completely change the entire site from the bottom up,” Pennlets co-founder Joe Giancristofaro said. A few enhancements include a new search and sort interface, subletting contracts and a feature allowing electronic payments through Venmo.

“The new product is a lot more robust and can support a lot more traffic,” Giancristofaro said. “It’s a little more advanced and looks more like a commercial real estate website.”

UPennPost’s focus is for buying and selling for categories currently not covered by Penn Book Bazaar or Pennlets, such as dorm supplies and concert tickets, Marschang said.

“We envision people during Spring Fling, who buy tickets and find out that they can’t go, to easily resell those tickets,” he said. “This is a community for Penn … mini fridges, microwaves, anything — you can go online and exchange [it] with other students.”

Although some students have not yet navigated UPennPost, they expressed fondness of the concept.

“I think it’s a good idea because when you know it’s with your Penn community, you might feel more comfortable using it compared to Craigslist,” College sophomore Greta Baldwin said.

College sophomore Billy Ford agreed, adding that registering with a Penn email address gives the security of knowing that “you’re not dealing with some wacko from the city.”

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