Thursday, July 20

Social Commerce - Part 1

While I've written about shopping- and product recommendation-related sites and applications that are attempting to leverage social networking and bookmarking here and here, several new ones have recently launched that I thought I'd share.

It should be no surprise that most "shopping" on the internet is really just research or window shopping and either leads to a purchase made offline at a retail site or never leads to one at all. Some of the sites in this new wave leverage this fact by helping users with product research and recommendations. Others just attempt to provide simple tools that address one aspect of the shopping experience.

Gifttagging attempts to address one simple need--the universal wishlist--and while it's fairly straightforward, it just doesn't seem to do it that well.

Gifttagging basically allows you to manage and share lists of items that you would like and those that you already have. After adding a link to your bookmarks bar (only seems to work in Firefox), you can add items you find while browser-window shopping to your gifttagging lists with a simple click. You still have to manually enter the item's name, price, and description unlike other sites like Baggle (which I write about here).

You can tag the items with keywords, search other people's lists based on similar tags, and then share your lists either by emailing a link to it or by adding a Linkroll onto your website. Although it looks like the code they provide includes JavaScript, so don't expect it to work with social networking sites like MySpace which strip JavaScript out.

All in all, I'm not particularly impressed with this website. When I tried to add items to my "Things I Have" list, they ended up on my "Things I Would Like" list. Roughly 40% of the time I tried to add something to one of my lists, I'd get a blank window stating "Application Error." The fact that it doesn't seem to integrate well with Internet Explorer is a big strike against its chances for catching on with the mainstream. The site is in Beta, so I hope for their sake it improves.

Regardless, there's no apparent business model here. How this site is going to make money is a mystery. And if it's not obvious that it's the least bit sustainable, why should you invest the time to build a wishlist or add Linkrolls to your sites? Simple, you shouldn't.

Stay tuned for upcoming write ups on other sites such as MyPickList, Stylehive, Wists, Kaboodle, Nabbr, and Yub.

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