Jan 30, 2006 Business & Marketing
Bill Monk is a new Web 2.0 company (sorry guys, I know you hate that term) that rings a “I can’t believe no one has done this before” tone to it. How many times have you and a group of friends sat down to lunch and when it was time for the check only half of you had cash and the other half had plastic? Then the “Oh I’ll pay so you don’t have to use your card” and the “I’ll just put it all on my card” debates begin, often time leaving someone with a heavier end of the bill. Sure, it’s informal. And sure, it will probably be made up for at some other outing, but why carry that unnecessary weight around?
Bill Monk makes all that simple. In comparison, with being less than a month old, the buzz surrounding this idea is similar in thickness to that surround Paypal (X.com at the time) in the 90′s. Everyone gets the idea: “What? I can just send the payment to you via email?! How cool!” was PayPal’s, and “What? I can just send the IOU through email or SMS?! How cool!” is BillMonk’s. It is a very simple idea that changes how I do things on a daily basis. The fact that billmonk transactions aren’t money based, but rather IOU based, makes this idea even more powerful than the first. Everyone can use it immediately, no need to verify your bank account and customer support will never have to investigate anyones payment schemes. BillMonk deals with simple notes, while PayPal deals with invoices. Something to think about.
What really makes Bill Monk work is that it is based on the principles of social networking. You can form groups and track spending within the group. Soon, you’ll be able to tag items so that you can track multiple purchases within a group. The example they give is a group ski trip. Tag all items related to the ski trip as “ski-trip” and the group can settle out differences after the trip. That takes a lot of worry out of the vacation and everyone can just enjoy it!
The name Bill Monk represents a neutral third party, a monk, to handle the escrow between friends. All parties involved can rest comfortably knowing that the transaction was tracked, aggregated against other transactions, and settlements can easily be discovered and made.
I’m already a huge fan and daily user of BillMonk. And I just barely found it. Rarely do I come across a useful site that I don’t feel a need to improve upon it drastically or develop a competing idea. BillMonk’s site is almost zen to me. They seem to be doing everything right for what I need it for and I can relax and just use it. How cool!
BillMonk.com everybody. I do predict it will become as everyday a term as Paypal within a year or two.