The term ‘barter’ usually evokes thoughts about times of crisis or what the ancients did before money was invented.

This is completely wrong, as bartering is a natural way of exchanging things without the intermediation of money. We do it all the time, often without realising it, so is not an exchange method necessarily associated with crisis. The global ‘barter industry’ is huge, with massive mega-billion exchanges taking place between countries. And no one has ever discovered this mythical ancient society where bartering was the sole means of exchange!

The CES is a platform that provides its users with a range of exchange methods, and bartering is one of them. The internet revolution has provided an impetus to this type of exchange as it allows us to make the connections that were difficult before.

Bartering is one of the exchange-type options when you enter an offering advert. It allows you to enter an offering without specifying a ‘price’ in Talents. The ‘price’ of the item is what you would like to receive in return.

A barter offering differs from a swap offering in that it is open ended. This means that you offer something without saying exactly what you want, though you can specify the type of counter-offer that you are willing to receive. You would advertise your offering with a ‘what offers?’ request.

For example, you might have surplus firewood in your back yard and are willing to exchange it for anything of equivalent worth. You would request “what can you offer me?”. Or you could say that you are willing to exchange it for something general such as garden help or foodstuffs.

A swap offering is more explicit, where you are offering something in exchange for something specific that you require, such as bookkeeping services for dental services. A swap offering is a combined offering/want.

The new ‘Record your hours’ feature on the web site is useful for both barter and swap offerings, especially where the offering and counter-offer can be quantified in time units. For example, if you want to offer your massage services for general handyman assistance, both parties can record their respective hours so as to keep things in balance.

So if you have something, goods or service, that is difficult to quantify in Talent terms, try advertising it as a barter offering. You will be surprised what others will offer for it. Something you might regard as worthless could be quite valuable to someone else!