Selling to the world

Scott Smith says he’s “been online since there was an online”-he was AOL’s 3,000th customer-so it’s only fitting he now runs a business via the Internet.

When he grew tired of having little or no job security, Smith opened Computer & Software Exchange in Akron and worldwide at

Smith buys, sells, trades, upgrades and repairs computer hardware and software.

“I deal 98 percent with preowned equipment and software,” Smith says. “We’re shipping worldwide using the Internet as a medium for commerce. People see the online ads, we negotiate a price via e-mail and the items are shipped,” Smith says. “I’ve never met many of my customers.”

With new online customers, Smith usually requires a check or money order in U.S. dollars before products are shipped. Once a relationship has been established, however, items are shipped before a check arrives.

One of Smith’s highest-volume exports is more like a relic from the computer age’s distant past.

“I specialize in Commodore systems and software,” Smith says. “The schools and missionaries in Kenya use Commodores. One of my customers there has [approximately] 1,000 different titles of Commodore software.”

Smith has also found markets for these obsolete antiquities in India, Pakistan, Ghana, South America and parts of Asia.