Hype-driven Blippy falls by the wayside

Hype-driven Blippy falls by the wayside

In a salutatory lesson for the never-ending stream of start-ups hoping to make money from clever takes on social media, Blippy, the service that automatically published users' credit card transaction details online when it launched to much fanfare in late 2009 but had to quickly change its business model, is now all but dead.

Raising close to $13 million in funding, Blippy secured huge attention and media coverage for its service, which enabled users to link a card, as well as accounts at outlets like iTunes and Amazon, to its site, which then automatically provided a Twitter-style stream of purchases.

Yet despite the hype from sites such as TechCrunch - which has now posted a mea culpa blog admitting it got Blippy wrong - very few people signed up for the service even before its reputation took a hit last April with the revelation that user card details were showing up on Google searches.

In July the company tried to boost its popularity and user engagement by adding a review feature, letting people share their thoughts on purchases. Just three months later the transaction sharing aspect of the service was ditched completely.

CEO Ashvin Kumar now tells Techcrunch that the switch hasn't really worked; the site has around 100,000 registered users of which just 30% have shared a purchase.

With co-founder Philip Kaplan jumping ship, Kumar says that although Blippy is not dead, the team has stopped innovating and is instead "taking the things that we learned" and working on new projects. Clearly undeterred these new plans are also in the tough-to-crack social e-commerce sector.

Comments: (2)

John Dring
John Dring - Intel Network Services - Swindon 20 May, 2011, 14:54Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

I thought I should have signed up to this, and then just did to evaluate. I think it is financial aggregation at the right level, but shows that there is still a high degree of cautioness (rightly) to providing banking details to any third party.  Like others, I would like my Fx Txns in one place, but not sure I trust any third party enough to give the access needed!  Only if my bank/institution had a special agreement would I do it.  And that's the problem - they don't.   So I would only use to link to the merchants which reduces the value. 

Worth a try though, while it lasts.  Maybe it will evolve later.

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 24 May, 2011, 14:41Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Personally, even I'd hesitate to hand over my Internet Banking credentials to a third-party, and had stopped dead in my tracks when I reached this stage on Mint. However, Mint's success and huge exit shows that there are enough people who perceive the risk-return equation differently. The basic issue with Blippy - and I'm saying this with the benefit of hindsight - was, it didn't give as much as it took: Price comparison engines give richer pricing information but don't ask for personally identifiable information. As for the social angle of Blippy, haven't we all been through situations when we thought we got the best deal for something only to be pipped to the post by some friend who'd managed to find an even better one? Blippy would only add to our woes by making it easy for such friends to gloat over our misfortune!

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