March 10, 2010
You may have heard about the new US start-up that’s been making the headlines recently. Of course, it’s yet another social network. But this is a social network with a very different twist.
Backed by a Twitter co-founder, the site is called Blippy. Much of the design, functionality and user experience mirrors Twitter. It requires you to share your debit/credit card numbers with it, as well as your bank account details and other online accounts such as eBay or iTunes. Every purchase made on these accounts is displayed, in real time, to other Blippy users online.
To many, this may seem like the most outrageous sacrifice of privacy and security. Yet the Blippy founders think it holds the key to learn more about deals, new products and consumer spending habits. Surprisingly, quite a few have signed up. 5,000 volunteered to try it during private testing, sharing information equating to $5million worth of purchases. Since launching publicly in January, Blippy has persuaded more than 13,000 consumers to sign up and has even piqued the interest of a number of US investors.
Another key element is the data that Blippy offers, which details where you shopped and the money spent per purchase. It even prints a description on occasion and in the same window your friends are invited to comment on each transaction. So if I saw a DVD a friend of mine purchased, I could ask them if they liked it.
Living this publicly online could be a step too far for many. Especially given the concerns raised recently over location-based and social network sites making it easier for criminals to ascertain when you’re not at home. Despite this, I’ll draw on what Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg said recently, which is that ‘living publicly is now the social norm.’ Blippy, therefore, could be the one to watch this year.