You simply enter information about your device, the condition it's in, the original items and accessories you still have for it, and -- voila! -- they give you an estimated resale price.
If you accept, they send you a pre-paid shipping label and, in some cases, a box for it, and off it goes. If they agree with your assessment of the condition, they send you a check or PayPal payment.
There are several recommerce sites on the Web, but here are four sites currently buying and trading the latest electronics.
In just the first two days following Apple's iPad 2 announcement, Gazelle said nearly 4,000 iPads were traded in on its site.
That figure is double the number of iPhones traded in during the same two-day period, the company said.
And, considering that Apple has sold more than 15 million iPads since its launch, it's likely that the trade-ins aren't going to let up anytime soon. Gazelle said it expects to pay out more than $2 million to iPad owners in total.
If you're interested in getting in on the action, Gazelle is currently offering $387 for a 64 gigabyte (GB) 3G- and WiFi-enabled iPad in good condition. That will get you about half of what a comparable new iPad will sell for.
This is a good indication the iPad 2 is not only going to be a successful product for Apple, but a successful upgrade as well, as many of those 15 million original iPad owners are expected to upgrade to the new model.
If you have other old electronics that you're looking to unload, Gazelle accepts products in more than 20 categories, including Blu-Ray players, camcorders, cell phones, desktops, digital cameras, e-readers, gaming consoles, GPS devices, laptops and LCD monitors.
NextWorth offers a similar type of deal and also has a retail partnership with Target stores in the U.S.
Customers can receive a Target gift card when they trade in used electronics in-store or, if they're not near a participating retail location, they can get a quote online and receive a check, PayPal transfer, gift card or e-gift card mailed directly to them.
iPad units will be accepted for trade-in at Target locations by the end of March.
To receive your quote, you answer the same kinds of questions: Is it functional? Is it scratched? Are there dead spots on the display? Do you have the original chargers and cables?
A 64 GB Wi-Fi-enabled iPad is currently getting a $390 offer.
NextWorth says it is able to restore and refurbish almost all of the devices, and will be selling the traded-in iPads in the next 7 to 14 days on its own online store, as well as in other online stores.
By promoting reuse, NextWorth helps keep gadgets out of the landfills. The company says that whatever can't be reused is recycled in the U.S., in accordance with industry standards.
EcoSquid is like the Orbitz of re-commerce sites.
It asks you questions about your item and then does the comparison shopping for you, showing you what Gazelle and other sites will pay for it. It also gives you recycling opportunities for used electronics.
Right now, there aren't many partner sites for trade-in, so the recycling program is more expansive. But it's nice to know where you can recycle used electronics in your area without waiting for your town's electronic waste day.
Regardless of which site you choose to sell or recycle an old gadget, you would do well to follow a few best practices:
The earlier, the better.
Put your item up for sale as soon as you make the decision. The closer you get to a new release, the lower the value of your item.
Get prices from a few different sites and compare to find the best deal.
Also, decide if you really want the cash. Best Buy's trade-in program gives you more money if you take a gift card, less if you take cash.
If you can't sell it, recycle it.
Do yourself and the environment a favor and get it out of your kitchen drawers and into the hands of a company that will recycle it responsibly.
Delete your data.
Before you send anything in to resell, make sure all your personal information is wiped from it. It's best to restore the device to its original factory settings to be sure everything is deleted. For full details on how to erase the contents of your iPad, see Apple's tutorial here.
If you just couldn't wait any longer and purchased a first-generation iPad from Apple in the last two weeks, you can bring it back to an Apple store before March 16 and Apple will give you a $100 refund to make up for the company dropping the price by $100.