As described before, we have invited Jeffrey Paine and Serkan Toto to our advisory board. We ask the experts to give us comments on new web services presented at our monthly event from their point of views.
This post includes their reviews on i.ntere.st and Socialacts that have been introduced at the event on March 28th. We’ll be very grateful if their reviews are useful not only for those who have developed the services but also for potential new web service inventors.
Refer to this story for more about i.ntere.st.
Online and mobile services addressing interests and intent has been tried before, even Hunch.com is trying and new upstarts like Sparkbuy who is focusing on a niche – Consumer Electronics (I.e. Trying to solve One Problem). The site looks good so far but the value proposition of social discovery is not immediately apparent. Focusing on a niche like Sparkbuy (for shopping) might create better user engagement and receive a ton of feedback to keep iterating. So my advice is to focus on solving ONE PROBLEM and iterating based on that and my guess is Social Shopping engagement kinda like Blippy conversations but flip it to something really unique..
User acquisition will be something they have to look into further, but if they solve a real problem in a way that is newer and better, traction will come.
I think that the general approach to tackle the interest graph is interesting, as this is a “hot” new area that hasn’t been explored over and over again.
This is especially true in Japan, where you have a number of printed (monthly) magazines that do nothing else but introduce new good, accessories and gadgets (Mono) to readers.
The general idea is interesting, and the site looks very slick, but I think the main challenge will be user acquisition and retention.
A problem coming with this is the chicken and egg problem: when I go on the site, I don’t want to be the first to list up my items but want to immediately discover new ones.
It might also be a good idea to make the site more vertical first and focus on a big niche, for example fashion, and focus on a distinct target group, i.e. women.
Refer to this story for more about Socialacts.
A mobile app to track and record social actions ranges from simple to sophisticated ones. The problem statement and customer profile at the moment are not clear to me, is it discovering new social activities or is it tracking and motivating oneself to do more social acts? Focus on solving one problem, say you are the RunKeeper or the GreenGoose of Social Actions (which is basically tracking and motivating yourself and your SNS to do more), look into it further and deeper.
For starters, the market size for people doing social acts may not be that large and of those who are, tracking and sharing may not be what they are looking to do and achieve. Really try to understand the Addressable Market Size and who exactly your perfect user is. But again, if the product scratch a particular itch for social do-ers, it can be interesting and can be potentially very monetizable because of the demographics of this target group.
I think the general idea and the concept of actions that benefit others and making those actions social through apps is great.
But I am worried that as a standalone product, the Socialacts will have a hard time getting users, as it will require them to install yet another app with a very vertical use case on their phones.
And as the app isn’t out yet, there is a number of questions open, for example:
Who would be the target group: individuals or organizations or ad-hoc groups? How can they communicate with each other? Who is controlling which task has been really done and to what extent?
Also, I think that the general idea of Socialacts could be absorbed by social apps that are already out there, for example social task managers etc.