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Zunafish.com is a U.S.-based website for the trading of idle media materials. The site facilitates the exchange of these items among members, with the community governed by a user-rating system. Trading is conducted in six categories:books, CDs, DVDs, video games, and VHS tapes. Audiobooks on either tape or CD form a separate category.
Organization and origins
Zunafish is owned by Zunafish Ventures, a New York State corporation. The company is privately financed and headquartered in New York City, New York. The site was conceived and developed by Billy Bloom and Dan Elias. Development began in January 2003, and the site was launched in January 2006.
Growth and initial press coverage
Four months after launch Zunafish became the subject of substantial press attention, leading to the initial growth of the trading community. On April 13th, 2006, The New York Times devoted the front page of the "Circuits" section to Zunafish and its founders. Versions of the article were later featured in The International Herald Tribune, CNET.com, The Toronto Globe and Mail, other publications, and the site became a discussion topic in hundreds of "blogs". In August of 2006 Zunafish was named by TIME Online as one of the "50 Coolest Websites" of the year. In the same month TIME Magazine featured Zunafish as "One of 7 Cool Sites You'll Want to Bookmark." In September PC Magazine named Zunafish one of the "Top Websites" of 2006.
Trading on Zunafish is a one-on-one transaction between two individuals. There is no membership fee and no minimum trading required. The cost to the member is 1 dollar when a trade is successfully completed. Members are provided with print-out shipping labels, with pre-calculated postage requirements, with which to send items to their new owners. Users are asked to rate their trading partners after the items have been exchanged.
Sudden Disappearance of Zunafish
In January 2009, the website announced that Zunafish has gone off-line in order to implement enhancements to the site, and during this downtime, there will be no trading or site access. The Zunafish URL remains active with only a shallow note stating that a new version is in the works and that users would be notified when version 2.0 was ready. A hit counter on the page shows that tens of thousands have accessed the disabled home page.
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