29 May 2010

Crowd Gifting

ya know what would be really cool? a consolidated gift giving system... crowd gifting.

What's that you ask? Let me explain what I mean, by way of an example.

I have a birthday coming up. I have been told repeatedly I'm hard to shop for. Several folks therefore have asked what I want for my birthday. I know what I want. But it costs far more than I would ask any of these folks to give me for my birthday. For the sake of argument, let's say it costs $829 + $99, or $928.

So instead of saying, "oh, I dunno." or "whatever, surprise me." or any other lame answer like that, it would be nice to give folks a url and say "that".

So when they go to this url, they would see a page that says "Chris wants a _____ for his birthday, you can offer to chip into the cost along with all his friends and family, and if we all together get to the actual cost by the week before his birthday... then we'll all get it for him together. Otherwise you'll keep your money and can wing it." And ideally it would tell them "so far, X people have contributed Y amount, with Z remaining." They could then decide if they want to contribute as well, and fill in their CC details and how much they want to give. The system would then place a hold on that amount, and if by the cutoff date enough folks contributed, it would capture all the cards and hand me the funds to buy the device. Or better yet, it would buy it automatically and ship it to me.

The folks running the service would probably have to mark up the amount some to cover fees and expenses. But wouldn't that be awesome?

In v2 we could even get fancy and allow folks to contribute a range. Say At least $50, but willing to go up to $75 if it means enough to buy it. Then if everyone else contributed enough to come within $5, that person would do $55. Or if there were two of those folks, and it was within $5, they'd each do $52.50. If enough folks chipped in enough money you wouldn't even have to hit use all their minimum amounts... say 10 people all chipped in minimum $10... but it's only a $65 gift... then you'd only capture $6.50 from each of the 10 people.

You'd have to cut off the funds ahead of time, because you'd need to allow folks time to find alternate plans if the crowd didn't make the minimum. And the recipient would probably want to be able to say, if it's within X amount, I'll chip in the last bit. But I suppose they could just do that with the above by saying minimum of $0, up to X amount.

This doesn't seem ridiculously hard does it? At least the code seems straight forward. The banking integration would be a PITA.

I'm surprised I can't find any such system already. Or am I just not looking for the right keywords?


Blogger Kerry said...

Somewhat on the right path: http://www.kickstarter.com/

9:39 AM  
Blogger Darren Hart said...

I love it - my wife and I have the same problem. Everything worth having is $500 or more, except for those really rare "just perfect for you" gifts that only one person you know seems to be able to find. I bet such a site could be nothing more than an amazon store that sells "pieces" of a gift, and you could use the "out of stock" feature or some other such mechanism to abort within 7 days if sufficient funds were not raised. In fact, an ebay store might even provide you with the necessary range you mentioned. If not, an email to all current gifters 24 hours in advance could notify them that funds were lacking and give them a chance ti increase their contribution.... As a matter of fact... you could setup such an auction yourself. You could even post it on ebay with a unique piece of the product image for each auction. The great thing is that some random weirdo is bound to contribute a few dollars! Hah... I might just do that for the next big thing :-)

11:15 AM  

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