A Web Site For Borrowers

CBS Evening News correspondent John Blackstone reports on a new Web site for people who only need to borrow something, not buy it.

In San Francisco, Jon Fast has found a way to make money from things like his bike -- and his Wii video game.

"See I hit it a ton, the crowd is cheering for me, its excellent," says Fast, demonstrating his Wii ability.

When he's not using things instead of leaving them sitting in a closet he rents them. The Wii can bring in some real money.

"I've rented it for $30. It's $30 for a day, $50 for a weekend,'' says Fast.

Dorinda Vassigh rented it for a weekend.

"I was babysitting my niece and she gets bored and antsy a little bit. And I didn't want to buy a Wii,'' said Vassigh.

The two San Franciscans made their rental deal on Zilok.com, a Web site whose founder has a motto: "There is a goldmine in your close."

Jeff Boudier and some of his friends back home came up with the idea when they needed a drill to hang a picture.

"Initially, we're hanging out in Paris,'' said Boudier, " .. we didn't want to buy a whole new drill."

They figured somebody nearby must have one they're not using.

"We actually made a study about the drill. It turns out a drill is used an average of 12 minutes over its whole lifetime. 12 minutes."

That led to the creation of Zilok, where anybody can offer for rent anything they're not using. The idea is to connect people who live close to each other like Tobias Kunz and Manuela Bastos in New York. He uses his camera only on vacation. She needed a good camera just for one day for a party. He made $42. She saved a bundle.

"I think it's a really great alternative to buying something,'' said Bastos.

Right now Zilok's users are mainly concentrated in five major cities: the San Francisco bay area, New York, Seattle, Chicago and Los Angeles. Boudier says the site has 110,000 items available but admits they need far more to become a national success.

"Eventually we want you to find anything, anywhere in the United States. And for that, we need $10 million," said Baudier.

An ambitious goal. But consider this: across the country some 23 million storage units are now stuffed with stuff we're not using. There could be a gold mine in there.

  • John Blackstone

    From his base in San Francisco, CBS News correspondent John Blackstone covers breaking stories throughout the West. That often means he is on the scene of wildfires, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and rumbling volcanoes. He also reports on the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley and on social and economic trends that frequently begin in the West.

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