This is a very old entry — images are small, formatting is off.
I first learned about Swaptree through a presentation by one of our clients at TEDxSydney on the subject of Collaborative Consumption — itself the subject of her book, What’s Mine is Yours, for which we designed the web site. Although Swaptree has been around since 2004, it wasn’t until recently that the model has taken off and gotten more attention. Its focus is on users signing up, adding a list of books, games, music, or videos they either want to acquire or want to get rid of. Swapping. The system then matches you with equivalent swaps and through the magic of trusting strangers you put your book, video, game, or CD in an envelope, spend $2, and three days later you have a new item you want, not one that sits on a shelf. Last week I did my first swap, changing Pixar’s A Bug’s Life, which my 3-year-old deemed scary, for Toy Story, which we have yet to watch. Last week, Swaptree announced it would change its name and domain to the all encompassing Swap.com.
I like to say that we are applying a “descriptive” approach for the brand. Swap.com is descriptive. Swap.com is a verb. Swap.com is a category. Swap.com is simple. Swap.com is memorable. Swap.com is trusted because it is transparent. So by adopting Swap.com as our brand we are applying a descriptive moniker to our company, our service and our community. We don’t have to spend millions of dollars in advertising to convince a consumer what we are. Swap.com is all about swapping!
— Interview with Swap.com CEO Jeff Bennett
The name change is very interesting. I thought Swaptree was memorable and unique, whereas Swap.com sounded too generic and like one of those domains that are just catch-alls for spam. But after reading some of the reasoning, I do like the change. It’s an ambitious move to own a category, and as more and more people are looking to cut the middle-men and just deal directly with other people, Swap.com is better set up for becoming the default place for bartering goods without much hassle, even lass hassle than the ubiquitous eBay.
Lastly, consumers engage in swapping for many reasons. A common theme is saving money. The visual that seems universally accepted for “sales,” “discounts,” “markdowns,” “tag sales,” are those colorful dots that indicate how much a consumer can save if they buy a particular item. A logo has to befit the experience of a service. With the help of some of the best branding minds on the planet, we embarked on a fun and exhilarating journey to create a logo that would best fit our company and plans. With all of this in mind we created our new “swap dot” logo to serve as the emblem of Swap.com.
— Jeff Bennett on his blog
I also happened to like the old logo. Not for its execution so much as for how direct it was. A tree and some arrows indicating swapping. Clear and concise. The new logo, designed by Cuban Council, also takes the same generic approach of the name. In terms of the strategy and approach to become the default when you think of swapping, I think it works. It’s uncomplicated and straightforward. The typeface choice is pretty too, although a little too constrained in that circle. Not much conceptual depth to the logo, but it works well, especially at small sizes. No idea what’s going on with their favicon.