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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 July 2006, 13:41 GMT 14:41 UK
Man turns paper clip into house
House in Kipling, SK

If you dream of owning your own house, then trading a red paper clip over the internet might not be the obvious way of doing it.

But Canadian Kyle MacDonald has achieved exactly that and will see his new home for the first time on Wednesday.

It took Kyle exactly a year of 14 internet trades to move from the paper clip to a house on Main Street in the tiny town of Kipling in Saskatchewan province - a place he has never been to before.

Now the 26-year-old is planning to write a book about the venture which saw him trade up through a novelty doorknob, a camping stove, a snowmobile, a recording contract, and an afternoon with rock star Alice Cooper.

"I knew it was possible," he said on the BBC's Today programme. "You can do anything if you put your mind to it."

Kyle MacDonald
Kyle MacDonald started with just one paper clip
He got the idea from a child's game called bigger and better, but created a website devoted to the project and promised to visit potential traders wherever they were.

"My girlfriend and I paid rent for an apartment in Montreal and I'd always wanted to own my own house and this is how I decided to go about it. I think I may be the first to try it online," he told AFP news agency.

Originally from Belcarra, British Columbia, Kyle describes himself as having planted more than 100,000 trees, delivered more than 1,000 pizzas but "eaten only one scorpion".

Two Vancouver women first took on the challenge, snapping up the paper clip and swapping it for a pen shaped like a fish which had been found on a camping trip.

One red paper clip
Novelty pen
Ceramic doorknob
Camping stove
1,000-watt generator
Beer keg with neon sign
Trip to Yakh
A large van
One recording contract
One year rent-free in Phoenix
Afternoon with Alice Cooper
Snow globe
Hollywood movie role
House in Kipling

A sculptor in Seattle wanted the pen and gave him a humorous, hand-made ceramic doorknob in return.

The doorknob became a camping stove, which turned into a 1,000-watt generator that was swapped for a beer keg, which in turn was traded for a snow mobile.

The website started to attract a loyal following, with one reader delighted by the trade for a snow mobile prompted to comment: "Woaa dude, nice trade. If I had something bigger or more pricey I would exchange."

Film role

But glee turned to astonished concern when Kyle opted to trade an afternoon with rock star Alice Cooper for a snow globe.

One typical comment on the website said: "Kyle, man, what were you thinking? I personally think this is the craziest thing you have done."

But his fans need not have worried. Hollywood director Corbin Bernsen collects snow globes and wanted it so much that he offered a paid, credited, speaking role in his next film Donna on Demand.

Hey, what a neat planet. We're thinking of staying to see what happens next
Heather and Dan
Finally, the town of Kipling - population 1,140 - decided they would like a resident to get the part, so offered to trade a 1920s house for the movie role.

Kyle told the BBC that the town would be holding auditions in the first week of September, which would coincide with a house party to celebrate the success of the mission.

But he is still surprised by the level of interest the idea has sparked, saying on his website: "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.'"

The project has demonstrated the power of the internet and won an army of fans, including Heather and Dan who left a comment on Kyle's website saying: "Hey, what a neat planet. We're thinking of staying to see what happens next."

Man trading paper clip for house
18 Apr 06 |  Technology

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