Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Shopping for Something Web 2.0 style

If this assignment can be used as an excuse to buy an Xbox game, then I can use it as an excuse to shop too. Last week I was going through my morning routine listening to NPR. A business report about a very unusual business model came on: The Something Store. Its simple. You give them $10 and they give you something. Thats it and it is wildly successful. Why would this work? Why would someone willingly hand over money just for "something?" My husband and I over-discussed this for days. Perhaps it is like buying yourself a present. Perhaps its a little like gambling (though you will get something worth about $10 not exactly high stakes). Perhaps you just don't care at all about that secret santa gift and anything will do. I hate that one by the way. I am a very fussy gift giver.  Anyway, eventually we confessed to each other that we wanted "something" and loaded up the site.
Here's the thing, it's more than chance. It is actually sharing back. There is a Something Blog and comments where customers come back to share what they got. Kudos are given for lucky ones who were sent ipods and cameras. Interest and compassion is expressed for what people did with their somethings, whether or they will try for more somethings and if they felt their new somethings were worth the $10. People also share their experiences and feelings opening their somethings (each something is individually wrapped). 
It is all a very strange, indulgent, resource wasting, narcissistic thing to do and you know damn well we ordered our something with giddy delight. Actually, we ordered two somethings. I want my own. He can have his.
We should have our somethings soon. In all honesty, I am as excited to share my feelings about my something as actually getting it. We can "unpack" that one in the next post when I tell you what I learned ...oh, yeah, and what my something is.


Grace Butler said...

If this site is wildly popular, then I imagine a good number of people have been pleased with their somethings. it does bring up an interesting issue for me, however. Reviews and blog posts can't always be trusted. Sometime on Amazon, for example, it turns out that one of the "customer reviews" was actually written by the publisher to persuade others to buy the book. Consumers have to be more skeptical than ever these days, I feel.

Heather said...

Oh yeah, those reviews! Sometimes I read them and well, they just seem too well written. They sound like copy. It always makes me wonder who this is? I wrote in the past about anonymity on the web and that's another trial for not having to be vetted to what you write.