Listia

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Listia Inc.
TypePrivate
FoundedAugust 6, 2009 (2009-08-06)
HeadquartersMountain View, California, U.S.
Area servedWorldwide
Founder(s)Gee-Hwan Chuang, James Fong
Key peopleGee-Hwan Chuang (CEO)[1][2]
James Fong (President)
IndustryInternet, Online Marketplace
Employees70+
Websitewww.listia.com
 
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For other uses, see Listia (disambiguation).
Listia Inc.
TypePrivate
FoundedAugust 6, 2009 (2009-08-06)
HeadquartersMountain View, California, U.S.
Area servedWorldwide
Founder(s)Gee-Hwan Chuang, James Fong
Key peopleGee-Hwan Chuang (CEO)[1][2]
James Fong (President)
IndustryInternet, Online Marketplace
Employees70+
Websitewww.listia.com

Listia is a free online marketplace for trading goods between individuals, by using a virtual currency instead of real money. The marketplace uses an auction system where users bid on each other's items until the auction ends and the highest bidder wins. The user who listed the item then arranges for a pickup or ships the item directly to the winner.[3]

Users earn credits during sign-up and then continue to earn more as they place items in the marketplace. Purchasing credits is also an option, and is Listia's main business model. Users may also gain credits by leaving feedback, completing offers on the site, participating in promotions, and general courtesies.[4]

Users may leave feedback at the end of transactions and there is a dispute system available, should someone not follow through with stated rules. The Listia support team handle cases sometimes within one or two days, otherwise up to one week. Sellers have the option to charge shipping, but buyers can also sort through the menu via categories and include sorting said items with free shipping.

History[edit]

Listia was soft launched July 26, 2009[5] and publicly launched on August 6, 2009.[3][6] In 2010, the site passed the 1,000,000 auction mark and was named one of the top 100 websites of 2010 by PC Magazine.[7]

On January 31, 2012 Listia announced that they had over 1 million registered users, with listings in over 3,000 cities. They also launched their official Android app. [8]

On July 18, 2012 Listia launched their Rewards Store to allow users to get brand new electronics and other goods with their Listia credits from big online retailers. The company stated that “by creating a Rewards Store, we hope to incentivize more people to unlock all the idle value sitting in their closets and homes.” [9][10]

Funding[edit]

Listia originally received funding of $15,000 from startup funding firm, Y Combinator.[3][11] In October 2009 Listia received $400,000 in funding from Implistic Capital in an angel round with Adam Pearsall joining the board of directors.[12] In April 2011, Listia raised an additional $1.75M in funding from Andreessen-Horowitz, SV Angel and other investors.[13] They also announced the launch of their iPhone app to bring the marketplace to mobile devices. Led by General Catalyst Listia received $9M in Series A funding in October 2013, Neil Sequeira also joined the board of directors. The funding will be used to help develop their mobile apps and internationally in 2014.[14]

Partnerships[edit]

On Jan. 18, 2013 Listia Partnered with Best Buy to offer various items on Listia to its members. The users may use their virtual currency to purchase new merchandise which is fulfilled by Best Buy using the BBYOpen API.[15] The "Rewards Store" is also a tool to help control inflation on the site as the credits used to purchase merchandise from Listia's rewards store are removed from the economy instead of another user which would have the opportunity to spend them. Previously Listia used Amazon to supply their "Rewards Store" and currently still use it to fulfill Amazon gift cards.

Listia has also partnered with Walmart in 2014 to increase the types of merchandise available in the "Rewards Store" beyond electronics and gift cards. [16]

Concerns[edit]

Listia uses a third party Sift Science which uses large-scale machine learning to automatically discover new fraud patterns. These patterns are found by checking particular page navigation sequences, IP ranges, email address patterns, graph connectivity structures, browser configurations, and various others. An example Sift Science gives is that a user who signs up and waits an hour before making a purchase is 7x more likely to generate a chargeback than a user who makes a purchase immediately after signup.[17] Listia hasn't revealed what they currenly pay for this service but Sift's basic rate structure charges $0.02 per transaction with the first 10,000 transactions being free. Listia previously did the work themselves using many man hours and the service has saved them lots of time. James Cannady, professor of information assurance at the Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla says "Machine learning is not magic. It gives a system the ability to infer probabilities of activity based on what it has seen in the past, but if there is a truly new way of perpetrating fraud it's not going to recognize it. It is certainly advanced, but companies need to be smart about updating their own systems to catch fraud."[18]

Investigations[edit]

Listia agreed to pay $190,546 in back wages and damages to 61 current and former employees after the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor conducted an investigation. The company violated the Fair Labor Standards Act's overtime, minimum wage, and record-keeping provisions. Customer service employees were not paid overtime for hours worked beyond 40 in a week and in cases minimum wage. Listia also misclassified some employees as exempt from overtime pay and considered others as volunteers. The volunteers were not paid only given credits towards purchases on the company's website.[19]

References[edit]

External links[edit]