Posted by on in Subscription Box Swap News | 91 comments

Swap Groups – Would You Use Them?

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Swap Groups - Should We Build It?

I had an idea for the swap section based on a few comments and suggestions from swappers, and I wanted to run it by you first to see if it’s something you would use. (Better to ask before we build it – right?)

The concept is that you could create an invite-only swap group with some of your favorite swappers. (Anyone in the group could invite someone to join). This would be in addition to the regular swap site – you could still swap with anyone as you can now.

This way you could have a network of tried-and-trusted swappers, you could have an area for group discussion, and you could set up group swaps like a Secret Santa for example.

Let me know what you think and if this is something you’d be interested in. (And of course any other ideas for improving swaps are always welcome!)



Written by Liz Cadman

Liz Cadman

Liz is the founder of My Subscription Addiction. She’s been hooked on subscription boxes since 2011 thanks to Birchbox, and she now subscribes to over 100 boxes. Her favorites include POPSUGAR Must Have, FabFitFun, and any box that features natural beauty products!

All views in this review are the opinion of the author. My Subscription Addiction will never accept payment in exchange for a review, but will accept a box at no cost to provide honest opinions on the box. This post may contain affiliate/referral links. If you buy something, MSA may earn an affiliate commission. Read the complete My Subscription Addiction disclosure.


  1. As a newer swapper this would make it impossible to even get a chance. I really appreciate those who swapped with me initially but I also didn’t always do fair swaps just so I could build a rating. I Wish there was a way to find out why other swappers aren’t responding. I’ve got several counter swaps sitting for days wondering why. So it would be great to have a 5 question review like ebay where it asks communication, shipment time, packaging, ect.
    I also am getting burned by an experienced swapper. It’s been 3 weeks plus waiting for my item and she still won’t respond or add tracking. She also has relisted the item I sent her. So long story short, I’d love to rate her fairly.

    • I also have 5 counter offers waiting, no response, and those are for items that I really want. What is irritating is those counter offers are making the other offers I get stay pending longer. Within the next 2 days I’m going to cancel all the counter offer requests and resubmit the offers.

    • I’m in the exact same boat. It feels like I’m already being “judged” just bc I’m new at this. My proposals sit for days at a time then are abruptly canceled. For something based on the honor system, it seems like there are not an abundance of trusting swappers to be found! Very frustrating! Good luck to you!

  2. This seems very unfair! What, are the newbies bothering the established traders? The whole thing seems “cliquey” to me. Thought high school was over.

    • I appreciate the feedback. I usually only hear about swaps when something goes wrong, so I think it is safe to say my view point may have been a little off based on that fact. That’s why I wanted to get feedback from everyone. πŸ™‚

      • Thank you Liz, I definitely think you have a lot of newbies that would feel defeated entirely if the group thing were to take effect. It’s tough out here for toes of us trying to get established as good, honest swappers! This would make it way to difficult and limiting. Hardly worth it. Thanks for hearing the other side of the tale!

        • lol *those of us

    • I remember when I was a new swapper, it was irritating because I had to ask the other swapper twice to give me feedback so I would not be a newbie anymore. I prefer swapping with new swappers, it gives them a chance to get the swap #’s higher, plus for me they will more likely be excited to swap more, then an experienced swapper.

      • Thank you Lily! I need to find you on swaps if u r on it! It is difficult. When I do find a swap that is agreed to, I’m always so happy bc it’s not easy at all! As I said, as it is I think they see “no feedback” and fear the worst. My attitude is I’m more than happy to swap with WHOMEVER! The items I’m swapping I don’t have a use for to begin with! So it can only be a win for me. I really hope the policy doesn’t change and make it harder for ppl like me. Then I can still find ppl like you!

  3. I think it sounds good

  4. Maybe because I’m new, but that seems really unfair.
    one thing I’d like is to be able to see if there is already a trade in work on an item, so I don’t waste my time responding to a trade request by requesting a pending item.

  5. Invite only groups- No, I wouldn’t want or use.
    Some of the other ideas listed above (like private notes) -Yes, I’d use.

  6. Personally, all I seem to get in these boxes is a bunch of junk. I can’t imagine anyone else would want it either. I would be thrilled to buy from someone their unwanted items. Some of them I have been able to find on ebay, but not all. I thought the passport/airline ticket wallet that showed up a couple weeks ago was great, but have not been able to find a similar one for a decent price and quality.

  7. This doesn’t sound like something I would use. I agree with others that this feels limiting, and I tend to trust other swappers and will swap with swappers who have 100% ratings without concern. I would love a way to beef up the swapping matchmaking system, as someone else recommended. Currently I noticed it only offers a limited number of swap options, rather than giving you all of the folks who have matching items and are also interested in your items. A more extensive matching system would be great.

  8. Not interested in swap groups–too cliquey.

  9. I am not particularly interested in a group swap. Too cliquey.
    I read over the comments and I would like to second the suggestion that there is a way we can see a list of people who are following things we list, maybe tied to our listings page. That would be a great advantage if we could connect to their listings. I also really like the blind review idea someone posted, where neither side can see the review of the other until their own review has been posted. I have never needed to leave a negative review, but it makes me wonder when someone gets the item I sent them a week before I get mine and they still haven’t reviewed me. They wait until I post my review before they post theirs, which tells me they aren’t reviewing the experience, but reviewing my review!!
    And I love your idea of the after review question about if we would like to swap again and having a reminder of how we marked them if we try to swap again, and also the percentage of all swappers who said yes. I can see that really being useful.
    Lastly, I second the need to update the swap requested date if you do that more than once.

  10. I wouldn’t use the swap groups either but it is an interesting idea.

    Regarding other ideas… A way to coordinate local meetups to swap in person would be really handy. I live in So. Cal and I know there have to be a bunch of people right around me. Could be a great way to meet people with common interests and save on shipping!

    Finally, since you asked… πŸ™‚ I wish there was a way to easily see who is following a particular item. For example, if I look up an item, there could be a tab or link to show me who is tracking that item. That way if I wanted to I could look at what those people following the item have available to swap and request a swap with them. Sort of like the swap matchmaker (which is great! btw) but a little different. This feature could be handy because sometimes I have an item listed that I believe people are probably tracking and it is quite possible I would be willing to swap them for something on their list if I knew about them. Swap matchmaker doesn’t find this match because there are lots of things I would be willing to swap for but I am not currently following because I don’t even know about them yet or because there are just too many options to follow everything I am interested in.

    Thanks so much! (And thanks again for adding the time to the comments.) Love it. πŸ™‚

    • I live in So.Cal too that is a great idea

  11. I wouldn’t use it. I haven’t had any bad experiences yet, but I don’t like the idea of exclusivity that groups would create. I’ve done over 100 swaps, but I sometimes choose to swap with someone new if it’s an item several people have. I had such a hard time getting swaps when I was new and I’d hate for it to get harder for those just joining the board! Yes, there are folks I swap with again and again, but I can follow them. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you! I’ve done 2 great swaps, but as a newbie, I getting more cancels than anything! This idea is not helpful, I don’t know why it’s being entertained..

      • *I’m

  12. I’m not sure about swap groups but I love the secret santa option!

  13. I wouldn’t personally use it. I’m in enough groups on Facebook for swapping, I like the current format of MSA swaps. I do love that you’re always looking for new ideas though!! πŸ˜€

  14. Set up secret santa anyway and let us know about it!! πŸ™‚

  15. Liz: — Idea: It would be fun if we could randomly could get a secret santa, and include a few non box items in the box, so the box would be a surprise. Maybe there could be a secret santa sign up list =)

  16. Sounds like fun! I really like the secret santa idea. – I’m trying to swap as much as I can before the end of year. Jan 1, I want to donate all the items I have left, and start the new year fresh. The group would also be great, when someone has multiple swaps with the same person, and they want to put them in one box, and wait till the next time they ship and ship all the items together. I prefer larger item swaps. Shipping can be pricey I spent $150 in shipping last month, most of the items where one or 2 items. Then 1 week later, I did another swap with the same person. It would be so much easier and cheaper to have a box going for 2 weeks or a month, and that is where I think the swap group would be great. I could let the people in the group know about new updates, and ask if they want me to put anything in their box.

    • I feel better seeing you write that. I spent $35 on shipping the other day (four items) and I was a little unhappy about it.

      • The more boxes I get the less I want to swap, and the less I spend on shipping. Last month was aggivating yet I did swap for some fun christmas gifts, and items I really wanted. Yet before I will spend that amount again, I’ll just get a few more boxes. I find flat rate boxes more fun to ship. When I ship those I normally ad a lot of extras. I also don’t list foil packets anymore. To many requests for 1 or 2 packets. Found it irritating.

  17. I don’t know that I’d like or would use that feature. As far as suggestions I had a few.
    1. I’d love to be able to leave notes about a swapper. These would be notes available only to myself. I’d be able to just jot down notes about the swapper such as if they were great traders, if they are smokers (I’ve done a few swaps where while it was a good swap, the the cigarette smell is just overwhelming and I’d prefer to not swap with them again), slow to ship or just someone I’d rather not deal with again. There are so many people on the site now that it’s hard to keep everyone straight. That way next time if their profile comes up in a possible trade, the notes would be available to me to easily click on and see 2. I wish there was a way to block someone, I’m sure lots of us have dealt with someone that makes the same request over and over again (it gets a tad irritating). 3. Please make the feedback blind so that the traders do not see what the other person says until both individuals have submitted their feedback. I’ve heard from so many people that have said that when they’ve left honest negative feedback, the other individual turns around and retaliates by then leaving negative feedback against them. Often they lie just to get back at the trader. This screws up the feedback system and makes people hesitant and scared to leave the truth when they know that there is a good chance that they’ll receive a negative rating in retaliation for just being honest. 4 When someone requests a trade there is the feature that allows you to click the button and it shows all of the items they have from your follow list. I love this feature and I wish it would also be available when we are requesting a trade. It’d be great to have the option of not going through all of the traders items. It’s be so convenient to be able to immediately see what items they have available that you follow so that you could just select those items instead of scrolling through all of their listings. 5. It’s be so great if the search function worked for more than one word. Thanks for everything!

    • I agree with the notes (i think i’ve suggested this before, but maybe not) and the search function really does need some work. Actually, I agree with all of these things. Good suggestions. πŸ™‚

  18. I love the forum/posting board idea – I go through the comments of any box that sounds interesting to get an idea what other people think or thought of the box before ordering – with this I could just ask a question about the box and find out what others think. Maybe the forum could be split up into a posting board of threads for popular boxes such as Popsugar, and Birchbox so you could easily talk about specific boxes in one place, and other general threads too maybe by category.

    I would love to see some sort of feedback or comment area for popular items in the swap section, i.e. inside the window when you click on the item. There are times when I don’t know much about an item on swap and I will usually Google it to find out if it is something I would like or be able to use – I’m sure if I had some honest opinions on the item from other subscribers it would help me decide to go for it or not.

  19. I wouldn’t use it but it would be nice to have some sort of a way to ask questions
    I don’t like seeing used makeup at all – too many germs
    There is way too much caught up in “dollar value” as no one paid dollar value for very few things here. The only thing I can see would be if someone bought an item from a boutique at the $ value.

    • I agree with the asking questions, I wish there was a way to message the person. Sometimes I request one item, then comment with “I’m also interested in ____ if _________” or I request both and then end up starting a new swap after I get an answer.
      Also, I see gift cards and such all the time that I know are already expired, but I’m not going to request a swap just to tell people they need to remove that.

  20. I wouldn’t use this – I’ve had luck with the general group and wouldn’t need to narrow down the audience. I’ve enjoyed swaps as-is so far!

  21. I don’t think I would use a swap group feature. I’m more interested in specific items than specific people. Also, I’d be a bit concerned that as a group outsider I would be less likely to have a swap accepted than someone in the group, so in a weird way it might actually make the site less of a community feel.

  22. I am indifferent to swap groups, but I thought I’d offer a few other suggestions (that have most likely already been said). The search doesn’t work when you type in more than one word! It makes it very tricky to find items at times.

    Also, there should be an automatic system cancel if one side requests to cancel and the other side does nothing for a certain period of time (2 weeks maybe?). I have an item sitting in a swap with a person who seemed to have signed up, accepted two swaps, and never logged on again.

    Local swap-meets would be fun, but it seems like it would be really tricky for you to host meet ups (on your site) since you wouldn’t be there!

    There could be a “try again” feature for when someone returns a swap that you don’t agree with. Instead of canceling a swap if you don’t like the swap, it could be a button that says, “I’m still open to swap but not that item.”

    The “requested swap on” doesn’t update if you request more than once. So if I request an item first on 10/1 and then again on 10/31 (maybe after listing new items) it shows I requested on 10/1 but not 10/31.

    There should be a select all cancel options. So if I request an item from 10 people hoping one will say yes, and the first one does, I don’t have to open each unanswered swap to cancel it.

    Overall, it’s such an amazing site, I just thought I’d give a few of my observations (and maybe I’m totally wrong about some of the usefulness!).

  23. I am not interested in this.

  24. I am a little torn on this one. I have a few favorite ladies that I swap with and look forward to dealing with. I have had issues with swappers also. I did one swap where the person didn’t send their side of the swap at all. The swap value was around $50 plus I paid for shipping out of pocket and because it was a heavy item I paid over $10. The way I see it someone stole over $60 from me and it still stings a bit. I also see a minor flaw with the feedback. I recently did a swap where the other swapper listed clothing items from a well know sub box. There was a posted value on the items and we swapped $ value for $ value. When I received my items the tags were from a well know retailer not a sub box and the item listed with a $50 value sells on their website for $10. I thought long and hard about this, I am really bummed that I didn’t get what I swapped for. Even if the items had a similar value I would be ok but they clearly did not. Here’s my deli-ma if I leave negative feed back they are bound to do the same, and with a large number of swaps and 100% at his point my 100% means more to me than the money. If I send back the swap (if she agreed to do so) I would be out quit a bit of shipping money and at risk that I don’t get my items back at all. So the items I received are fine, I will use them but I do feel cheated. With all that said, I would not ever want to swap with that person again so it would be nice to have small trusted groups to prevent things like this. I don’t know that it’s even a good idea but it would maybe or maybe not be an idea to “mark” or “block” swappers. Even after I say it it sounds to so mean and negative but for now I have a little note book of swapper that I would not care to swap with. Sorry to sound so mean, bad swaps sting for a while, at least with me.

    • I really appreciate the feedback. And I’m sorry to hear about that swap. What do you think of an anonymous question after a swap is completed “Would you swap with this person again?”

      We could use that data to remind you on all future swaps if you do or don’t want to swap with that person.

      In theory we could also use that for profiles – something like “95% of swappers would swap with this person again”

      Let me know what you think! πŸ™‚

      • i love that idea liz!

      • I think that sounds like a great idea. You could leave “feedback” without dinging the other persons feedback and possibly causing conflict. I had one swap where I sent the wrong item out, 100% my fault no questions asked. When she notified me I felt terrible and sent the correct item plus an extra. Within an hour I had it in the mail with tracking. Anyways she was so rude and mean to me in the email that personally I don’t want to swap again but I did leave pos feedback because she sent her items just as she said she would. There are a lot of different swappers with different swapping styles and I think that is great. I also think some peoples personalities along better than others so a way to leave feedback without “leaving feedback may be a great option.
        I like the idea. It would be nice if the swappers who we answered “no” to had a notification on it, similar to when a swapper has over 10 swaps in process, it could pop up when we open the swap, maybe.

      • I like this idea… and not just swappers I wouldn’t want to trade with again – because everyone I’ve dealt with has been awesome – but people you don’t want to negotiate with again. I’ve had 1 or 2 people get really petty about values (i.e., mine is $26 and yours is $24, so that’s not equitable). They aren’t worth my energy, so I’d rather not deal with them again.

        • That’s a good point also, I have the same person that has requested swaps and every time we try to swap they counter my swap with a huge list of items, it’s so lope sided that I don’t want to swap.

    • Sorry you had such a bad experience, Megan. It’s always a leap of faith to accept a swap.

      I also would be interested in a way of marking or blocking swappers I don’t want to swap with again; there’s a similar function on eBay to prevent specific shoppers from bidding on your items. I’ve had two swaps now where something was supposed to be new but had clearly been used, and like you, felt it was more important to keep building my positive rating than call people out.

      • I not aggressive way of noting swappers that we would prefer not to swap with again would be great. I am familiar with the ebay process you are talking about, buyers don’t even know when they are blocked, their term not mine.

        And I agree that they feedback system is great but has a few minor flaws, I also have not called people out for fear of them leaving neg feedback.

  25. Love the forum idea — where a discussion thread could be started for local swapping — but not keen on the idea of being able to create private groups. As many have stated already, I love the openness of the site as it is and the review/favorites system has worked beautifully for me.

    Side note… wish the search function worked better. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks for the feedback – we have fixing search on our to-do list!

  26. One of the things that I love so much about this site is how open it is and how it doesn’t feel like some middle school clique. It’s honest people from all around the country! It feels like a community of addicts who love awesome things and it would suck for anybody to become excluded! I have been dying for an ability to look up swappers based on location. I think it would be cool to be able to see who is in my area to see if we could swap and maybe get rid of bulk items without paying the price of a complete subscription box for shipping. I would also really appreciate an easier method of discussion, like maybe a discussion board so people could set up secret Santa or something… But I guess to answer again the question you actually asked— I really don’t like the idea of closed groups πŸ™‚

    • Thanks for the feedback! It seems like the next step for us should be forums! πŸ™‚

  27. I have to say I would not use this. I like swapping here and haven’t had an issue with anyone and have met some very nice people. However adding groups it becomes very clique like and to me that is very exclusionary and not necessary. You can get an idea if you want to swap based on feedback.

  28. I am unlikely to use this.

  29. I don’t really think its necessary. I haven’t run into any issues with dishonest swappers on here or on edivv.
    I’m also part of a couple subscription box type facebook groups, and we do some swaps there too.

  30. Wouldn’t use this but would love an option to do local swaps – maybe by city so we could get together in person.

  31. I would like the discussion part! There have been many times that I’ve wanted to ask others opinion about items.

  32. I would not use this. I have had great success with people being honest and going above and beyond to be pleasant and fair. I see no need to deliberately exclude people. You can already choose not to swap with someone based on negative feedback if you so choose.

  33. I don’t think I’d use this…you can already mark swappers as favorite, if you want to keep track of what they post. My favorite part is just going through all the pages of newest items listed! Sometimes you don’t know you want (Or NEED) something until you see it listed.

  34. The idea makes me really nervous. It’s been really nice to get to swap with folks all over the country, who like/subscribe to all kinds of things. I’ve met some really nice people on here…even people who are from my original home town! I like the idea of a centralized discussion forum better. That allows for a more group dynamic without introducing the element of exclusion.

  35. I wouldn’t use it.

  36. That would alienate and exclude a lot of people and doesn’t seem logically in the swapping sense.

    Maybe have repercussions for negative feedback swappers instead.

    Additionally, used make up should really be banned for swaps.

    • I agree! I think it should be kept open to everyone.

    • I’m alright with used blush or something…but as soon as I see mascara or lip gloss as used, I immediately move on. The only person I would share either of those products with is my mother!

  37. I would like this as an option!

  38. i would not prefer it

  39. I would use that!

  40. I prefer to keep it as is – as open and democratic as possible. The thought of cliques of woman just sent a chill down my spine.

    • I agree!

  41. I see potential for things getting personal and going south within groups, and between groups and “outsiders.” Think that it’s simpler to keep swaps as the current swap board and proving forums for those who wish to chat (and I’m sure that “Secret santa” swaps or whatnot could be arranged as threads within the forums with criteria like min. 30 days on forum and 95% or better swap rating with 10 or more swaps or whatever is determined to make people feel comfortable). Just an opinion.

    • Forums is one thing… There are a few people I follow.. but the whole groups and inviting your friends. I feel like I an back in high school. πŸ™ Too much drama… I might be wrong…. but I can see some problems with the idea.

  42. Interesting idea, but not something I see myself using. I’d rather keep expanding my swap network of awesome swappers!

  43. Yes. I would use it. Sounds like a good plan to me.

  44. Thank you for asking. I would use it.

  45. I probably wouldn’t use it as I feel like it is limiting available items. Also, I generally trust the person if they have 100% feedback.

    • I agree, I think it’s a fun idea but I personally would not use it.

  46. Love this idea!

  47. Sounds like a great idea. Still on the waitlist for the swaps but I would love to participate if I got an invite.

    • Expect a swap invite from us early next week! πŸ™‚

  48. So….I just tried to answer and got a blank screen with a message saying I was trying to post comments too quickly!!!! This is my first comment on the site in days…..kinda confused, but, willing to try again!
    Liz: I would really love to see a community discussion area, bulletin board, forum, or some other way to quickly ask a question or make a comment to you and/or the other members of the site! I’ve been wishing for a My Subscription Addiction Swaps Forum since I started swapping! Thank you Liz for the constant upgrades and improvements to the site! The swap option made me braver in ordering new boxes, so, the subscription box world should be thanking you as well! πŸ™‚

    • Thanks for the feedback. Do you envision a forum section of this site for everyone/covering everything – or are you thinking more swap specific?

      • I would love to see a forums section too, but more for other things, a place we can post about new box finds or coupon codes, or general questions that are not box specific.

        • I DO like the idea of a forum … but do NOT like the idea of closed groups b/c I think they could b/c exclusionary and there are always ratings for people that you can check out.

  49. I just signed up for the wait list, but I think this is a great idea.

  50. I would definitely use this! I like the idea of using a group of people on swaps that I trust indefinitely. I already swap with girls numerous times because I trust them and know that I will always be happy with the outcome! Great idea, Liz (and whoever else helped you develop the idea!)

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