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Person-to-Person Sharing Explodes

Isolde Raftery, TODAY contributor
Friday, 5 Apr 2013 | 12:17 PM ET
Joos Mind | Stone | Getty Images

One of the biggest trends out there is sharing. People like Rob Gonzalez are making a living from renting out cars, clothes rooms to vacationers, and even pets.

Power tools, baby clothes for a special occasion, a personal loan—even a dog for those who want to test pet ownership. No longer does one need to buy these items, clogging up storage.

Nor is this a quaint notion: Person-to-person transactions, popularized by early innovative sites such as Craigslist.org, has exploded into a $26 billion-a-year industry.

Chief among sharers are the "super sharers," including Rob Gonzalez, who makes a living renting out a room in his Brooklyn condo via airbnb.com and teaching a class he calls "How to live rent-free in New York City." He posts the class on the website Skill Share.

Gonzalez, a 35-year-old actor who was once a real estate agent, uses Relay Rides to find individuals renting their cars.

"I share my home and I share my knowledge, but there's a lot of stuff I don't have, so while I share a lot of stuff, people also share with me," Gonzalez said.

April Rinne, chief strategy officer at Collaborative Lab, a company based in San Francisco and Australia that specializes in collaborative consumption, summed up the growing phenomena: "We can trade, swap, barter, rent, lend, share, etc., but doing so in a way that mimics what we've been doing throughout history but is relevant in today's Facebook age."

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