New app makes its debut for University students

By Kyra Kirsh, Supplements writer

“Neighbormate” is a start-up company in the form of a mobile application made so that students or employees in a specific community can connect online through the buying and selling of goods.

Neighbormate recently made their application available to the University, and some students have been recruited as student ambassadors to help spread the word about it. These students have been seen doing promotional events around campus.

Neighbormate is similar to Craig’s List or Ebay, but on a much smaller and more local scale. Its purpose is for students around campus to buy and sell goods at the local level through trusted connections; this is something that Craig’s list and Ebay both lack due to their unlimited accessibility. Also, all of this can be accomplished without getting up off of your couch or paying anything, since the application is free in the App Store.

To sell on Neighbormate, all you have to do is post the item you are trying to sell. Then, choose if you want to share it with the general public of the University or just your private network. After that, wait for buyers to contact you.

When you want to post a listing, you are required to post a photo of the product, the product’s name, a description of the product, and a category (i.e. apparel, books, electronics, etc.). Sellers are not required to list the asking price in the initial post, as some sellers would rather wait until they’re contacted by the buyers to negotiate.

To make a purchase on Neighbormate, once you open the app there are a variety of things you can do. Within the mobile app, there is a list of tab options for you to visit. The option at the top of the list is “listings.” Under listings, you will find all of the products up for sale within your network. Scroll through all of the items available to you, and click the items that interest you.

After clicking that item, all you have to do is hit the “reach out” button at the bottom of the listing to contact the seller. Above the button lists the seller’s credentials, such as their full name, town/state of residence and school/workplace affiliation.

After hitting the “reach out” button, the potential buyer is directed to a messaging screen in which they can type out a message to send to the seller. After that informal contact process, the potential buyer will fill out a form to send to the seller.

The app achieves its trustworthiness and accuracy by requiring people to use their University e-mail or verify their place of employment when signing up. If people only want to sell to other students and not workers nearby, then they can simply choose the option “My Network” under the “Who can see this listing?” tab.

When a potential buyer is sending their request form to a seller, the e-mail comes from [email protected]. This anonymity exists until the seller responds to the potential buyer; it is then that both users’ information is disclosed. This prevents anyone that is using the app for reasons other than the sole purpose of buying and selling goods from acting inappropriately or harassing users in any way.

Many students on campus work as campus ambassadors for Neighbormate. These students are hired to advertise and market for Neighbormate through promotional events on campus.

For example, at the beginning of the Spring 2017 semester there was a promotional event at Kams, a popular bar on campus. At the event, if you showed the campus ambassadors that you have downloaded and signed up for Neighbormate with your school email address, then you received free drinks.

Niki Kolbe is an advertising major at the University of Illinois and was hired to be a campus ambassador at the beginning of the semester. Kolbe believes that the work she is doing will pay off.

“It’s a start-up company, but it has the potential to become something great. It’s the most convenient, legal way for college kids to make fast cash.” Kolbe added that the company is constantly striving for betterment and is always reaching out for ways to improve their app.

Student ambassadors seek to make Neighbormate more widely-known and utilized by other University students.

[email protected]