RealTime IT News

How Much For That Old iPod?

Apple's announcement Tuesday that it plans to roll out yet another version of its popular music player and drop the cost of several existing machines means that some owners of iPods may want to upgrade.

When they do, a Boston-area startup called NextWorth.com wants to help them unload their old machines.

Assuming the iPod is in good working condition, the company, which runs an online consignment service, will offer a guaranteed price for any machine and take the task of reselling it online.

"We're trying to create an alternative to buyer's remorse," said David Chen, CEO. "If you want that new iPod, then go for it."

The iPod, for anyone who has not been paying attention, is one of the last decade's great consumer electronics successes.

Apple, in its last earnings report, said it shipped 14 million new iPods in the fourth quarter of 2005, twice the number sold in the previous quarter.

In January, the company unveiled a lower cost version of the iPod. It followed that up Tuesday with news that it's selling a new 1-gigabyte version of its iPod Nano while dropping prices on the iPod Shuffle.

Chen believes the proliferation of new iPod models will stoke the tech-lust of iPod users wanting to keep up with the latest and greatest.

Those who would rather not go through the process of selling their old machines can let NextWorth do it for them.

"We'll take care of the whole process, including the listing, the photograph and the fulfillment," Chen said.

The iPod exchange program is an extension of NetWorth's main business, conducting online sales of expensive items like jewelry, electronics, antiques and watches for people who don't want to do it for themselves.

The company charges between 25 and 30 percent of each transaction

"We've had people tell us that they have roomfuls of stuff that they've set aside for selling on eBay, but the reality is it never gets done," Chen added. "And every day that it sits there, it's losing value."

Sucharita Mulpuroo, an analyst with Forrrester Research, said the idea of online consignment services has been around for several years. Other companies in this space include Auction Drop and iSold It.

"There's still a lot of opacity to how to go about selling effectively on eBay and other sites," she said. "A lot of people are overwhelmed by the process or they just don?t have time to deal with it."

In terms of reselling iPods, one stumbling block may be ongoing complaints by some users about problems with batteries and hard drives in the machines.

"Price conscious customers are some of the ones who investigate the most," Mulpuroo said. "If you think there's a good chance you'll be getting a lemon, I'm not sure you'd want to buy the product."