Creative blogger nets a house for a paperclip

A budding novelist who set out from his web log one year ago with the hope of trading up on one red paperclip until it exchanged him a house has turned his dream into a reality.

Kyle MacDonald is this week celebrating a string of 14 trades that started in July 2005, which have now netted him a three-bedroom house in the Canadian town of Kipling, Saskatchewan.

Armed only with the small metal clip and bartering skills any entrepreneur would be proud of, the 26-year-old has used the reach of the blogosphere to bring worldwide attention to his quest.

Using the popular website Craigslist to declare his offering, Mr MacDonald was promptly inundated with proposals to swap his small red piece of metal for a medley of random items.

He eventually settled on an offer from Vancouver, where a group of friends happily exchanged their fish-shaped pen for his miniscule metal clip.

Without even needing to blog about his fresh offering from his website – ‘one red paperclip’ - Mr MacDonald won the attention of a Seattle woman just ten minutes later, who said she wanted to exchange his new pen for a door knob. He accepted.

A sequence of further trades was born: Mr MacDonald continued swapping items as random as a snowmobile; a neon sign, a rent-free stay in a house and even an afternoon with veteran shock-rocker Alice Cooper.

The master key that unlocked his success came however when the blogger swapped his afternoon with the rock god for a snow globe, specially emblazoned with the logo of Kiss – the glam rock band.

At this point, Mr MacDonald conceded under the terms of any type of fair trade he would need his 'sanity checking', so he was quick to explain the r’aison d’ être of his global quest.

“I'm not exactly sure if I'm in a position to plead for my sanity here - after all, I am trying to trade one red paperclip for a house,” he wrote from his blog.

“But I must re-inforce[sic] what I believe the one red paperclip project is all about: relative value. What's more important to a man dying of thirst in the desert - one million dollars or a glass of water? So all I gotta' do now is find somebody who needs a ‘drink’."

He found his ultimate answer in the shape of Hollywood actor Corbin Bernsen – whom he befriended, to discover the actor's avid collection of snow globes.

The bartering between the duo led to the actor, who is also a TV star and B-movie producer to seemingly up the value of the blogger's trades, by offering a paid, speaking role in a soon-to-be-released movie, expected to be complimented by internet video.

Speaking to Across The Sound, the new marketing podcast, Mr Bernsen confirmed he is writing and producing the 95-minute film, which his production company will release to a growing army of consumers - 'buzzed' by the excitement of the 'one red paperclip' experience.

For the residents of Kipling, a town suffering from a dwindling population, McDanold's new offering was a good excuse for an extra resident – they contacted him and offered his ultimate goal – a house.

On Friday July 17, The Citizen, Kipling’s local paper reported: “It's official! Kyle MacDonald's quest to trade one red paper clip for a house will be fulfilled at Kipling.

“And amidst applause from those gathered to witness the event, he [Mr Macdonald] continued, "This is going to be awesome! That's all I can say!”

Photos posted on the web log ‘one red paperclip’ seem to confirm Californian press reports that locals have donned a giant red paperclip at a highway rest stop, to make their new resident feel welcome, and of course, to attract tourists.

Meanwhile, Mr MacDonald's side of the bargain has not been forgotten in the celebrations.

The micro town will soon hold a Pop-Idol-style contest to decide which lucky resident will win the role in Mr Bernsen's forthcoming film, Donna on Demand.


13th July 2006

Related News

Latest News