Yesterday I was browsing through Techcrunch when I came to this story. Michael Arrington discussed a unique concept about how one website was generating buzz by having advertisers buy things for their readers to get displayed on the site.
The site is PayItToMe.com. Basically the concept is that users submit photos of items they wish for to Pay It To Me and advertisers buy it for them. The photos are displayed in a desired items page. Then Reno, the guy running the site, brokers any deals with advertisers who are interested in paying for a readers item. The advertiser pays the reader directly through PayPal and then sends a screenshot as proof of payment to Reno. Reno then takes the picture, and adds it to the homepage as well as a unique page. He then links the picture to the advertisers site. The advertiser then gets to benefit from all the buzz the site is generating.
I told John about PayItToMe and he gave it a try. He submitted a picture of Heroes Season 1 on DVD and someone bought it! (could have gone for Heroes on HD DVD, John. They you could justify a Xbox 360+HD Drive at Christmas!) I was kind of surprised. I didn’t think it would work, but it did.
So, since it worked for him I decided to give it a try. But instead of submitting an item, I wanted to participate as the advertiser. At the time, the lowest priced item on the desired items page was a 30 pack of Bud Light for $22.99. It sounded like a reasonable request to me, so I contacted Reno and told him I’d like to sponsor that reader. He sent me the paypal info, I paid and sent him the details, then he put my link on the homepage. The traffic wasn’t like a Digg or Reddit front page, but it was still pretty substantial. I got 400 visitors in about 10 hours time (as of midnight last night). I’m still getting traffic from it, but Google Analytics has several hours delay so I won’t know until midnight tonight what my 24 hour turnaround was. Still, I’m pretty satisfied with deal as an advertiser.
Then I decided to submit an item as a reader. I didn’t want it too be too luxurious an item like the iMacs and cameras that some people were requesting, but I did want it to be an item I would enjoy and probably wouldn’t buy otherwise. So I added this picture:
I didn’t expect that I’d actually have anyone buy it anytime soon. I was hoping that traffic and buzz would build for the site and eventually someone would purchase it for me. But, when I checked my email this morning, I was VERY SURPRISED to see that a company had sent me a paypal payment so I could buy Halo 3. WOW!
The company that purchased it for me was Kalendra. A big thanks to them, and to show how grateful I am I’ll be providing a review of Kalendra on this site soon.
At first I was a little sceptical about PayItToMe simply because it was just a guy that had a blogger account and was doing all the transactions via email. Then I remembered a little site called One Red Paperclip who was setup almost exactly the same way. Through email and his blogspot blog, some guy traded up from one red paperclip to a house.
These guys are showing that it’s amazing what you can do when you just start something even though you don’t have the programming or design or HTML skills to get it going. If you have an idea, get it up and get it going. This may be a READY-FIRE-AIM approach, but at least something is happening and it’s no longer just a “yet another idea”.
Way to go guys, let’s see where you can innovate from here!
I have many childhood memories of playing on the railroad tracks. We’d put coins on the rails so they’d get flattened. We’d climb train signals, the ones that went over the tracks, and lay on the metal grating as trains blew by us 10 feet below (you had to hide behind the signal lights because engineers would stop the train if they saw you and that would cause some HUGE fines). It was a little daring but it’s nothing compared to below. John sent me this video of some Norwegian kids and their little experiment with railroad tracks. It’s very impressive.
If you can’t see the video in your RSS reader you can find it here: http://www.metacafe.com/watch/712008/nice_idea.
[File this one under: So Simple I Wish I Would Have Thought of it First]
Does Facebook need a digital currency? Apparently a LOT of people think so. If you haven’t heard of Acebucks, you’re about to. And if you are an active Facebook user, it is only a matter of time until you too have installed and are using the Acebucks application.
What is Acebucks? Simply put it’s an underground currency on Facebook. It allows users to buy and sell digital goods, hold auctions, give gifts, and send digital money to one another. The market for this virtual stuff is HUGE. One only need look at SecondLife, World of Warcraft, or Entropia to see how big virtual economies can become. I remember reading a stat somewhere (sorry it’s almost 1:00 in the morning and I am NOT doing the research to back this claim up) that SecondLife’s economy would be 31st richest economy in the world if it were its own country. Then you hear of people selling virtual land–we’re talking land that is digital, ONES and ZEROS, here–for hundreds of thousands of dollars. It just goes to show what a little bit of too much free time can do.
Whenever a digital currency is combined with an open marketplace, you can expect things to explode. How exactly will this work on Facebook? Time will tell. Will I be able to sell and buy little badges that people can display on their FB page that say “You Rule!” on them? Probably. It will get really interesting though once they start tying into offline goods. I’d love to sell some ebooks through Facebook. Or even buy a few thousand diggs or stumbleupons from Facebook users. BuddyMedia has said that they will start tying in an offline store and selling things like iPods using AceBucks. They also stated that they’ll be releasing an API that other application developers can use AceBucks through.
This is going to pretty interesting. A userbase in the millions like Facebook means there is a lot of opportunity for a lot of people. How much opportunity? Well, the makers of AceBucks just secured a $1.5 million dollar round of financing if that’s any hint. Someone somewhere thinks this is a worthwhile endeavor. I think they’re right.