Tuesday, December 21, 2010

WishGenies uses Facebook Likes and community to help your gift shopping

This is an app that we can all use beyond they holidays since in all honesty most of us suck at gift giving. I know that most of the time I spend hours going through sites or standing in stores looking for the perfect gift... by using WishGenies quite a bit of that hassle is gone.

Can you believe Jeff really gave Keilee a PS3? Yes, I know both of these people and she is definitely not playstation type. Now he may be able to get her a gift that has a power cord since she has more gadget cred than he does but still...

Happy Holidays!

Amplify’d from technicallyphilly.com

If you’re still hunting gift ideas for a friend or three, a Facebook application from a local developer hopes to have the answer.

Launched in November, WishGenies is a lightweight tool in beta that leverages Facebook user ‘likes’ and an early-adopting community to offer suggestions.

This author signed in, chose a Facebook friend for whom he was seeking a gift, added some other keyword preferences of my friend and, within six hours, I had three suggestions under my $50 price range. One was a book that this friend has and enjoyed and two others were gifts that, truly, I just might purchase.

The app is from Jeff Deville, a 32-year-old freelance web developer living in Plymouth Meeting. Most suggestions come in within a day, he said.

“Two Christmases ago, I was looking for a present for my girlfriend, now wife. I went with a buddy of mine to the King of Prussia Mall, and we walked around the whole thing, both sides. We left sans gifts. A week or two later sees me walking out of the Sony Store with a Playstation 3 — for my girlfriend,” Deville, formerly the web architect for yellowbook.com. “It went over about as well as you might have expected. I was forbidden from ever buying her anything with a power cord again.”

Deville says he’s learned that it’s easier to buy a gift for a friend than a family member or loved one. That’s because you have the same interests as your friends, he says, so you should seek gift advice from those who have those same interests. With the power of Facebook groups and ‘likes,’ participating ‘genies’ can have powerful access to insight on an individual’s tastes.

Born in Baton Rouge but raised in Tucson, Deville says he’s focused first and foremost on user acquisition and developing the recommendation platform. In time, he hopes to further develop the basic commission partnerships and Amazon referrals that are already included.

At this early stage, books have accounted for more than a quarter of the first several hundred recommendations through WishGenies, Deville says.

“Ultimately, the one thing I don’t want to do is let stores pay to give their products placement as a recommendation,” he says. “I’m very serious about this being a place where the quality of the recommendation comes first.”

With just a few hundred users, the application needs a heavy influx of gift-idea-seekers to boost metrics and develop the app, but the idea is simple and effective. Its truest shortcoming is one that many new Facebook apps face, being without true integration into Facebook. The user has to return to the WishGenies interface to find if any suggestions have come through. The app also depends on big community buy in, the larger, more diverse group of ‘genies’ submitting suggestions, the more successful. Otherwise, the app might struggle to offer relevance. If it takes, the idea can be a simple success.

Give WishGenies a try, and tell us what you think. Is this a keeper?

Read more at technicallyphilly.com

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