Internet karma: how the shareconomy is making the world better (and your life more exciting)

The future of finance?

Despite the emphasis on community, critics suggest that the shareconomy is like every other before it: a money-maker. And, like all economies, it wants to grow. Enter services such as Onefinestay, a concierge-like service that wants to make things more luxurious. It lets owners of plush properties rent out their place with minimal effort, interacting with clients, cleaning the property, and even meeting guests on their behalf.

Elsewhere, RelayRides is upselling, too. “In the summer we launched an airport parking service,” explains Webb. “Now we can take and clean your car at the airport, then rent it to arriving travellers. You can pick one up when you get off your flight, too.”

All told, cataloguing and sharing your possessions looks as if it’ll become a much bigger part of our lives. Google is reported to be working on a service called Mine, which could keep an exhaustive digital record of items you own or need. Soon, you might be sharing everything with everyone – and not just those blurry photos of you gurning in a dimly lit bar.

More after the break...

Stuff says...

Sharing our digital lives on the internet is as easy as two drunken clicks followed by a hasty delete. The internet’s ability to do the same for our physical stuff has been slowed by logistical, legal and trust hurdles. But, after a few stumbles, the shareconomy is starting to hit its stride.

Some of its companies are traditional rental in disguise, but others such as StreetBank and FarmDrop might just spark a sense of local community that was lost when the internet torched the old geographical rulebook. Sure, the shareconomy isn’t suited to everything – expensive gadgets and unwanted spouses spring to mind. But the prospect of seeing a locally available 3D printer, snowboard or web designer on a map surrounding your house is very real. And one that’s surely better than a loft bulging with ill-advised impulse buys.