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The Freecycle Network™ is made up of 5,326 groups with 8,902,605 members around the world, and next door to you. It’s a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns and neighborhoods. It’s all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Each local group is moderated by local volunteers (them’s good people). Membership is free, but donations are requested and accepted to help keep the site running.


As far as I understand, Freecycle allows people to do more trade-free things, so you might argue that it should be added to the directory- it promotes good, trade-free behavior. It allows people to be able to share and re-use things, and this sharing and re-using between people is trade-free. But this kind of reminds me of Couchsurfing also makes a good trade-free thing possible: people are able to share their space (couch, spare bedroom, whatever.) trade-free with others, so that others have a free place to sleep. It promotes a great trade-free service between people, so I could see why someone might want to add Couchsurfing to the directory. However, the service that Couchsurfing provides is not trade-free accommodation for people, the service that it provides is a website where people can connect with each other. And unfortunately, that website is not trade-free. At first, they put ads on their website and collected data, then they started pushing this “verification” money-making scheme, and now, they’ve locked people out of their own accounts if they don’t pay a monthly fee to access the website. So although Couchsurfing makes a good trade-free service possible between people, the organization itself does not offer a trade-free service. And that’s what this trade-free directory is all about- what these organizations offer.

As far as I understand, it’s kind of the same story with Freecycle- they allow people to be able to offer trade-free things to each other, but the service they provide (a website that connects these people) is not actually trade-free because it shows you ads and collects your data.


Youtube posts ads next to videos and collects people’s data. One can see that as still ok since “all websites collect data” and that many websites post ads to maybe “support” themselves. However this does not make them trade-free. You have to trade your attention and data in order to access Youtube. There is no other way. Youtube won’t let you use their service without these trades. Freecycle is the same in the sense that no one can disable their ads or stop them from collecting people’s data. Thus, you HAVE to trade your attention and data to Freecycle. There is no other way that you can use their service. So, it makes this service NOT trade-free. Regardless of why they have ads on their website or collect data, for me it is not trade-free.


But I consider this anything but trade-free: – I understand if they lack funding, but that does not mean to put ads into their website if they want to provide a genuine platform for people to share stuff. It’s like duckduckgo saying that it’s trade-free. Yes they do not collect your data, but they also put some ads in their search:

If they want to provide a trade-free platform, then they should rely on donations, but not on you to watch their ads.

And on top of that they have some seriously shady trackers:


Freecycle is a pioneer in enabling people to gift to each other. Almost all websites collect our data and it would be best if they didn’t but that is no reason to completely reject them as a trade-free network. Adds are one of the only forms people can get funding for providing services at no cost, it is best if we can avoid them but they aren’t a good enough reason to reject a TFnetwork.

Although improvable, freecycle is an excellent pioneer of a trade-free world and should be at least acknowledged as an option.


I would not add them to the directory, because they are full of ads, collect data via google-analytics and promote their site on trade-based networks like twitter and facebook. So they want your attention and data. If you want to provide a network where people can give and get stuff for free, please just do that. Don’t collect data, don’t put ads or promote trade-based services. I know it might be tricky to maintain the website, but then rely on donations only – else you’re on a slippery slope and sooner or later people will have to verficate their accounts or pay a small amount of money for using your website like in the case of couchsurfing…

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