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The website One red paperclip was created by Kyle MacDonald, a Canadian blogger who bartered his way from a single red paperclip to a house in a series of online trades over the course of a year. MacDonald was inspired by the childhood game Bigger, Better, and the site received a considerable amount of notice for tracking the transactions. “A lot of people have been asking how I’ve stirred up so much publicity around the project, and my simple answer is: ‘I have no idea'”, he told the BBC.
MacDonald made his first trade, a red paper clip for a fish-shaped pen, on July 14, 2005. He reached his goal of trading up to a house with the fourteenth transaction, trading a movie role for a house. This is the list of all transactions MacDonald made:
- On July 14, 2005, he went to Vancouver and traded the paperclip for a fish-shaped pen.
- He then traded the pen the same day for a hand-sculpted doorknob from Seattle, Washington, which he nicknamed “Knob-T”.
- On July 25, 2005, he travelled to Amherst, Massachusetts, with a friend to trade Knob-T for a Coleman camp stove (with fuel).
- On September 24, 2005, he went to San Clemente, California, and traded the camp stove for a Honda generator.
- On November 16, 2005, he made a second (and successful) attempt (after having the generator confiscated by the New York City Fire Department) in Maspeth, Queens, to trade the generator for an “instant party”: an empty keg, an IOU for filling the keg with the beer of the holder’s choice, and a neon Budweiser sign.
- On December 8, 2005, he traded the “instant party” to Quebec comedian and radio personality Michel Barrette for one Ski-doo snowmobile.
- Within a week of that, he traded the snowmobile for a two-person trip to Yahk, British Columbia, in February 2006.
- On or about January 7, 2006, he traded the second spot on the Yahk trip for a cube van.
- On or about February 22, 2006, he traded the cube van for a recording contract with Metalworks in Mississauga, Ontario.
- On or about April 11, 2006, he traded the recording contract to Jody Gnant for a year’s rent in Phoenix, Arizona.
- On or about April 26, 2006, he traded the one year’s rent in Phoenix, Arizona, for one afternoon with Alice Cooper.
- On or about May 26, 2006, he traded the one afternoon with Alice Cooper for a KISS motorized snow globe.
- On or about June 2, 2006, he traded the KISS motorized snow globe to Corbin Bernsen for a role in the film Donna on Demand.
- On or about July 5, 2006, he traded the movie role for a two-story farmhouse in Kipling, Saskatchewan.