Blippy.com: Sharing What You’re Buying

Discussion
Mar 08, 2010

By Tom Ryan

Blippy.com is a social networking site that encourages people to see and
discuss what their friends and others are buying on services such as iTunes,
Netflix, eBay, Amazon, and more. They can even set it up to show purchases
from credit cards. While some view this as yet another internet-intrusion on
personal space, converts say they discover new products and deals while reaching
friends.

Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, Justine Ezarik, 25, said she bought
an app that tracks sleep patterns after she saw a friend buy it on Blippy.

“A lot of people are skeptical. They feel like they are sharing so much online
already,” Ms. Ezarik said. “I just feel like this is the next thing to do.”

The site’s founders said millions are already readily sharing more opinions,
whereabouts and photos on Facebook and Twitter that many initially felt overstepped
boundaries.

“People are sharing more and more on the internet because they are getting
so much benefit from it,” Philip Kaplan, a co-founder of Blippy told the Times. “From
the user perspective, it’s just a stream of cool stuff that your friends are
buying. From the business perspective, it’s the ultimate word-of-mouth marketing:
I buy something and tell all my friends about it.”

While privacy critics warn that social sites such as Blippy open up consumers
to identity theft and invasive marketing, the founders said safeguards are
in place. Moreover, the site provides tools to limit what people see. After
credit cards or accounts such as iTunes or Zappos are registered on the website,
transactions are streamlined in a Twitter-like feed. Users can opt to share
those purchases with the public, with only their friends, or not at all.

But the Times found some people revealing more than they expected
to. A Blippy advisor realized his friends found out he broke up with his girlfriend
after downloading the iPhone app for JDate, an online Jewish dating service.

Brad Wayland, a 30-year-old executive with T-shirt company BlueCotton.com
and a early Blippy fan, now only shares what he buys at iTunes and Amazon after
seeing his family’s monthly health insurance bills show up on Blippy.

“I started thinking about what information I really wanted people to be able
to see about me,” Mr. Wayland said. “I am not sure I want the world to know
that I ordered a No. 2 super-sized and two chocolate chip cookies at McDonald’s.”

Discussion Questions: What do you think about the appeal of Blippy.com?
What may limit its growth potential? Do you see many Americans being willing
to reveal their spending habits online?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

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15 Comments on "Blippy.com: Sharing What You’re Buying"


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David Dorf
Guest
11 years 2 months ago

I definitely think consumers are willing to share information and opinions about their purchases, but not using Blippy. As far as I can tell, Blippy does nothing more that list your purchase with no ability to explain, comment, or review. Just because I buy a dress for my daughter does not mean I like dresses nor would I listen to some of the music I buy my son.

Susan Rider
Guest
Susan Rider
11 years 2 months ago

This is certainly a generational thing! Young people today are sharing EVERYTHING and feel something of a social responsibility to do so. A marketing person’s dream come true.

Doron Levy
Guest
Doron Levy
11 years 2 months ago

If you can’t really comment on the product, what’s the point? Consumers turn to the internet for detailed opinions and reviews on products they want to buy. Blippy sounds like a glorified Twitter service with no real information behind the actual use of the product.

Max Goldberg
Guest
11 years 2 months ago

In the world of social media and electronic communication, privacy is dead. If you write it, tweet it, blog it or email it, your words are available, theoretically, forever. Into this world comes Blippy. To some it will seem to be the ultimate invasion of privacy. To others it will be a natural extension of their electronic life. Consumers will tell us how valuable Blippy is through their adaptation and use of it.

Doug Stephens
Guest
Doug Stephens
11 years 2 months ago

I agree with Susan. If you look at Blippy though a Boomer lens, it won’t make sense but Gen Y is accustomed to sharing just about everything–sometimes too much, as employment recruiters are finding out.

The degree to which Blippy’esque programs catch on as a trend will remain to be seen.

One thing is for sure; privacy will soon be a nostalgic notion for those old enough to remember what it was.

Bill Emerson
Guest
Bill Emerson
11 years 2 months ago

A recent study by Nielsen showed that 90% of Social Media users trust peer recommendations. Only 14% trust traditional advertising. These kinds of forums to gather new trends and experiences are sure to continue to grow as traditional advertising continues to decline.

Carol Spieckerman
Guest
11 years 2 months ago

Technically, anyone can (and does) share purchase information through Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms. With Guy Kawasaki, various Kardashians and other “influencers” getting paid for every brand-mentioning tweet, Blippy would seem to be inherently prone to corruption (“Wow, look! He actually BOUGHT it!”…or did he get reimbursed?).

I agree with the previous comments regarding generational differences as well. “Share your favorite purchases from any credit card” greets you the minute you pull up the site. Garlic and wolfsbane to anyone over 30!

Mark Johnson
Guest
Mark Johnson
11 years 2 months ago

I keep referencing the “Paradox of Choice” by Barry Schwartz. At some point it is too much.

Gene Detroyer
Guest
11 years 2 months ago

Blippy should be nothing more than a subset of another social site. How many different places must one deal with to get all the info they want to send or receive? If the Blippy service has value, Facebook, et al can and will implement the same info. In many categories they already do.

Social networking is a new industry and fragmentation is a natural development. However, following fragmentation will be consolidation. This industry is already in the hands of the big guys.

Larry Allen
Guest
Larry Allen
11 years 2 months ago

I agree with Doug and Susan on the generational divide over use of such SME tools, but I also feel it’s a great way to “have your voice heard” as a consumer. It’s the ultimate in “voting with your wallet” for both product and channel. Sooner or later, the boomers will catch on to the value.

Bill Hanifin
Guest
11 years 2 months ago

A big differentiator between Blippy and other social media tools (Twitter, Foursquare) is control. The user is in control of their Tweets (outside of auto-DMs) and you’ve got to consciously check in somewhere with Foursquare.

Now, either of those activities could land you in http://pleaserobme.com/ if you are not careful of what you post and the inevitable is that a site such as “pleasestealmyidentity” will arise as the yang to Blippy’s yin.

Visiting the site, I cannot see the value add beyond what is already available via Twitter or even Facebook. If one feels passionate about renting “The Hurt Locker” after last night’s Oscars, go ahead and post that on any site you wish.

Creating a streaming account posting from an individual online retailer or (danger, danger – I don’t care what caveats are in place) from a credit card account may indeed be a step beyond the tolerance of even Gen Y for disclosing the minutia of our lives.

Let’s see how long it lasts.

M. Jericho Banks PhD
Guest
M. Jericho Banks PhD
11 years 2 months ago

I fail to understand how knowing what a few friends are buying is better or even as informative as knowing what the public in general is buying. I prefer the larger sample size and the multitude of reviews they provide online. Blippy will be a short-term blip on the social networking radar screen.

Phil Rubin
Guest
11 years 2 months ago

Blippy is simply another way to “badge” in social media and likely a marginal one, at least in the medium- to long-term. There are already merchants integrating Twitter, Facebook and other social media feeds from their online stores and shopping carts so the ability to leverage purchasers’ enthusiasm for advocacy is already there.

At a certain point those happily sharing (exposing) their data for nothing in return will realize its value and begin to reign in their free-sharing ways. At a minimum they will (smartly) begin to raise the bar in terms of their expectations of the quid pro quo for sharing said data.

Paul R. Schottmiller
Guest
Paul R. Schottmiller
11 years 2 months ago

The concepts of peer review and social shopping are solid and I expect it to grow substantially. However, like a lot of social media, its value can be severely diluted with mass communities that generate more information than can be turned into real value. This is an early foray, with lots of room for more innovation.

Jerry Gelsomino
Guest
11 years 2 months ago

I often think, when hearing about sites such as this, why don’t retailers have a space, right inside the front door, for shoppers to input what they just bought, or what they are looking for, while learning from customers how they answered their own product needs? It could give entering customers new options if the desired product is out of stock, or even upgrades that should be considered. I know there are privacy issues and trust of accuracy that have to be guarded but let’s just think about the positive aspects of putting an online tool in the store.

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