Bartering for goods and services is an art as old as humanity itself. In our digital era, it’s gotten even easier to trade your stuff for things you need without using a medium of exchange such as money.
In Venezuela, a nation crippled by hyperinflation, people have resorted to bartering to gain access to goods and services as the Venezuelan currency has lost all of its value. Entrepreneurs and small startups like ClasGo have risen to the challenge, turning crisis into an opportunity to thrive.
About the project
ClasGo aimed to become the first online bartering community of the country. Their business model consisted in creating an eCommerce-like community where users could exchange their goods and services freely and for a fixed amount of time.
For ClasGo to be able to maintain the bartering community afloat while staying an economically viable project they planned to offer premium packages that granted access to additional perks, such as allowing items to remain published for extended periods of time; highlight items on the Featured Posts section of the website for higher exposure; additional reputation points, etc.
The website had everything an online community needs for it to grow and prosper:
- A reputation system, which is a given in any online community so potential customers can gauge the credibility of another user.
- The ability to review items to let others know what your impressions were like about them.
- Participants in a transaction were able to exchange private messages while negotiating a barter deal.
- A moderation system for administrators to be able to step in if/when required.
- A notification system that alerted you when items containing specific keyword / keyphrases were published on the site, especially useful if you’re looking for the best deals.
- A search function to find published items containing specific words.
For the back-end side of things, a custom CMS was built that only users with administrative privileges could access. This CMS allowed ClasGo administrators to:
- Keep track of the number of transactions made per day.
- Manage package purchases, invoices, and payments.
- Manage published items (edit contents, mark them as featured, change their statuses, etc).
- Everything else you’d expect to find in a CMS for the operation of the wesite (manage users, manage promotional banners, etc.)
How it was built & the status of the project
ClasGo was a VC Digital project. I was tasked with developing it from the ground up, following VC Digital’s instructions. Both the front-end and the back-end of the website were built with Laravel 5 at the core (the latest version at the time.)
As much fun as working on this project was and although feature-wise it was pretty much complete, unfortunately ClasGo never got to see the light of day.