hNote that we will have the amazing opportunity to have the CEO of Blippy speaking to the class on Thursday 5.6. Please prepare some questions/ideas!

Assignment
Create a blippy.com account. Play around with it for awhile (at least an hour). Make sure to:
  • Follow some other people.
  • Get followed by some people (classmates are ok).
  • Link an account (you can unlink it after the assignment). -> Note how this makes you feel...
  • Comment on someone else's purchase. Try to join/create a conversation.
  • Browse around what other people have bought.

Deliverables
By 06 May Thursday noon, submit a 1-2 page write up to mse237@gmail.com:
Subject: DF2- Blippy
Answer at least the following questions:
  • What problem does Blippy solve for you (that wasn't solved before)?
  • What was a hurdle; what made it hard to use?
  • What would you change to improve the service?
Blippy is a very interesting company to answer these questions for, think deeply!



Selected Answers:
What problem does Blippy solve for you (that wasn't solved before)?
"This service helps me to find and learn more about the spending habits of my friends and to get more details what kind of interesting products they order. Also, following Tech leaders like Pud (fuckedcompany.com) is also very interesting since he constantly buys hot and interesting iPhone apps. That means that just going through his purchases is partly a discovery and shopping experience. "

"Blippy ameliorates (but does not completely solve) the problem of letting people know what I’m up to without requiring more work on my part"

"Before I signed up to Blippy, I just bought a new album on iTunes that I wanted my friends to know about. Afterwards, I emailed several of my friends that may be interested in the band to "try them out". If I had Blippy, no email would need to be sent as Blippy would broadcast this message out."


What was a hurdle; what made it hard to use?
"I feel that Blippy is too far ahead of the privacy curve. I definitely did not feel comfortable linking all my accounts to Blippy. And my email account? There is a lot of private material in my email and I wouldn’t want anyone, not even an automated harvester, to go through that. I just felt that Blippy was perhaps a little too intrusive."

"I have heard stories in the press about Blippy revealing credit card information ( http://venturebeat.com/2010/ 04/23/blippy-credit-card- citibank/). I have to have confidence that my information will not be revealed to 3rd parties as well as become searchable in Google."

"My biggest problem is that the default setting for account creation is that your blippy account is public and nowhere in the account creation workflow can you change this (you can change it after the account has been created but then you have to track it down in settings). I think this gives users a feeling that they are not really in control of the information they are publishing, which given how sensitive this information can be is pretty bad. "

"Also if you are like me and just try to get through account creation flows as quickly as possible then you will probably end up sending out like a thousand invites, something that my facebook friends did not appreciate so much."

"A hurdle I faced is that I don't want all my transactions to be broadcast. If I link my credit card to Blippy and I happen to go out to an expensive dinner, would I want my followers to know this?"

What would you change to improve the service?
"I would love to see Blippy make active recommendations. If over 30% of my friends all buy a certain book, I’d want to get a recommendation for that book."

"when you click on the place where a transaction was placed you get a page just telling you who has been buying things from the place. I would like to see some metadata about the place. For example when I click on café barone it would be nice to know where it is, or even maybe what reviews it gets on yelp. "

"I think several purchases are useful for broadcasting but a user needs to be cautions of what kinds of purchases are revealed. I would like to see a filter to only allow certain types of purchases. For instance there are several categories purchases can fall under: media, entertainment, restaurants and bars, home, auto, vacation, work, etc. Perhaps I could select that I would only like to see media and restaurants and bars to be broadcast. This allows me to filter my purchase broadcasts and to be more selective with what I'd like to publish."

"It would also be great to include geolocation tagging so that people can see which purchases occur closest to them, such as during firesale on Black Friday."

"Blippy should work with online retailers like Amazon to allow the raw purchase data to be better dissected into product descriptions (such as through ISBNs or SKUs). Furthermore, these Blippy feeds could be integrated into these online stores (such as through Facebook Connect) and inform shoppers of friends of who have bought similar items. This would help generate more buzz in discussing purchase decisions and drive more traffic. Also, to incentivize people to share information online, Blippy could work with firms such as Amazon to give a rebate every time they post their purchase online."

"
I would definitely first and foremost improve the information consumption experience for the user. Just because Twitter and Facebook do things in a stream does not mean that every web 2.0 company out there has to do a rolling stream interface. A user should be able to see data visualizations of everything on itunes, trends of what everyone is buying, personal recommendations, basically massively improving the personal user experience model rather than focus on the virality of the service. I believe that this is important because Blippy could become an interesting amalgam of social as well as personal finance type service, where users can come see what their friends are doing as well as manage their own personal spending."