A free listing site for recycling unwanted items. Making it easy for people to find free stuff and give away items.
Freestuff is a simple concept, provide a platform for users to give away items they are no longer using.
When you look around your house and see clutter, you can take a photo and post it to the site. Other users can then contact you to arrange collection. Simple.
Reduce the amount of stuff going into the landfill and make somebody else's day
The Freestuff project has been a significant learning exercise. Normal ecommerce, trading and auction sites have money involved. There is a clear point in time when a buyer commits to purchasing an item, money is exchanged and the item is shipped or collected.
This chain of events does not apply to Freestuff. We originally tried to mimic this behaviour with a 'grab now' button. However, when items are free, individuals feel there is no obligation to complete the transaction and do not show up to collect them item
Turns out simply giving users the ability to communicate allows for smooth operation of the site. Users can ask questions about items, arrange collection times and generally be nice to each other.
Freestuff uses an SMS gateway to validate users phone numbers. This is a simple way to ensure users are real people and not bots. The result is a significant reduction in the amount of human work required to keep the site free from spam ads and fake users.
After trialing several SMS gateways, we ended up building our own custom PHP based solution mainly for improved reliability.
Regular ecommerce platforms have a facility for buyers and sellers rate each other. When items are free this dynamic changes. You do not want receivers giving negative feedback on free items as this discourages people from giving things way on your site.
Feedback went through a few iterations, until we settled on the simple thumbs up/down model. Only people giving away items can rate people taking items. The main purpose of feedback is to identify people who do not show up to collect items at the stated time.
Written in Flutter, the mobile app allows users to browse and search for items on the go. Flutter makes it easier to write cross-platform apps, so we can support both Android and iOS with a single code base.
Freestuff uses Google firebase to facilitate messaging on the mobile app.
While mobile app development takes a lot longer than mobile web application development, it is necessary for features such as notifications.
Users can directly message each other through the site. This is a great way to ask questions about an item before you commit to collecting it.
Messaging allows users to communicate with each other without having to give out their personal contact details.
Message notifications are nearly instant.