It's a Zuck Zuck Zuck Zuck World
Remember when Facebook was a world-changing social network–uniting families, friends, and that girl who moved away in the third grade across space and time? And then remember when Facebook was a punchline, trying to get you to pay real money for the virtual equivalent of the flair buttons on a TGIFriday’s vest?
Well, now, Facebook is also partly an e-commerce play–like say Amazon or Pets.com. Today, the company began launching a new segment called Gifts, which allows users to buy and send real-world items, tied to the life events you post on Facebook. It’s a gentle reminder that when free consumer web startups say, “Don’t worry about monetization, we’ll find a magical third way later,” what they mean is: “Let us pretend just a little while longer, please.”
Oh You Fancy Huh?
Today, social e-commerce site The Fancy* announced that they would begin giving credit to users who curate and share products that lead to a purchase. That’s right, you can now get paid for those aspirational impulses.
A unique referral code will be appended to every item you share, and if someone purchases that product after clicking on your link, The Fancy will provide you with 2 percent of the price of the item sold 30 days after the purchase. All of your credits will be tracked and displayed on a comprehensive dashboard.
With this move, the company is basically providing a monetary incentive to become a power user. (We sense a lot of coltish, wavy-haired fashion bloggers squee-ing into their iPhones right now.)
Last month, DUMBO-based e-commerce platform Etsy redesigned their popular wedding section, a “combination of wedding items, trends, how-to’s, expert advice and the stories of real couples.” The sleek redesign, which was rolled out in conjunction with a wedding registry, was meant to showcase designs from a variety of contributors, but according to the Daily Dot, that’s not what happened at all.
Here’s a little interesting history for a slow news day. We were chatting with a well respected VC about the explosion of e-commerce companies in New York. On the list of IPO hopefuls at the recent Goldman Sachs conference in Las Vegas were a number of relatively young Silicon Alley companies: Birchbox, Warby Parker and One Kings Lane. A investor we spoke with recently was kicking himself for passing on Fab.com, which has hit more than 1.5 million users and a $50 million annual revenue run rate in the span of just six months.
The social infrastructure in place on the web today means e-commerce companies can scale up very quickly. One of the big success stories that people point to is Quidsi, the parent company of diapers.com, which was acquired by Amazon for in November of last year for $545 million. But while that purchase was heralded as a big win, it’s actually a cautionary tale.
The Real TechStars of New York
Good things come to those who wait, a few months at least. Wantworthy, the fashion bookmarking site that graduated from TechStars New York’s second class in October, has raised at least $859,998 towards a $999,999 equity round, according to the company’s Form D filing with the SEC.
Lot18, the e-commerce startup focused on wine and fancy foodie items, has raised a whopping $45 million during its first year of existence. With backing from big names like Accel, it recently acquired Paris based Vinobest, and says it plans to conquer the old world wine market, a business twice as large as its U.S. cousin.
Clicks no Mortar
New York based e-tailer ideeli was just picked as the fastest-growing company on Inc Magazine’s annual 500 List, with an eye popping three years sales growth of 40,882 percent. Of course, if you looked at Betabeat’s traffic growth since we started back in March, we could claim a pretty impressive 300,000 percent growth, but hey, it’s all relative. Since Silicon Alley is home to both ideeli and Gilt Groupe, which pioneered the online flash sale, we wanted to chat with ideeli CEO Paul Hurley and get his take on how this rapidly evolving industry will look a year from now.
Old Dogs Learn New Tricks
Gilt Groupe just announced that its new men’s site, Park & Bond‒ a name that practically drips with the silver-spooned sound of privilege‒ will be partnering with Conde Nast’s GQ magazine on an e-commerce strategy. Not only will Park & Bond host an online store that features products “handpicked from the pages of the magazine by the editors of GQ.” But starting with the September issue, GQ is also promoting the venture in its pages and on GQ.com to drive readers to Park & Bond. Betabeat talked to Park & Bond president John Auerbach (Gilt employee no. 5), on the phone from the Pitti Immagine Uomo show in Italy, about the partnership‒and the genesis of that name.