If the founders of brand new shopping-based social networking site Swipely were a bit hesitant to be featured Tuesday in The New York Times’ technology blog, it wouldn’t be surprising.
Less than a month earlier, social shopping competitor Blippy earned a profile in the “paper of record.” Just one day later, someone discovered a leak that exposed Blippy users’ credit card numbers into Google search results. The resulting reaction to Blippy’s error generated plenty of buzz for the site. Problem was, Blippy wasn’t earning positive attention.
Swipely Enters ‘Social Shopping’ Market
Swipely, which launched its private beta version this week, looks and feels a lot like social networking standard-bearer Facebook. The difference is, Swipely doesn’t want you to share what you’re feeling or doing. Swipely wants you to share your purchases.
If you become friends with someone, you can see what they have bought, where they bought it, and what they had to say about the purchase. By following a link to a particular store, you can see a feed of who is buying what at that location and the store’s most frequent customers. According to the Times’ blog, Swipely has 250,000 stores already built in.
Swipely is helmed by Angus Davis, who was the mind behind voice request service (and reportedly $800 million Microsoft acquisition) TellMe. The social networking site has received about $8.5 million in funding, including a $7.5 million infusion from Index Ventures, according to TechCrunch.
In Wake Of Blippy Controversy, Consumers Wary
Even the most plugged-in of consumers might be a bit wary of Swipely, considering the fact that competing site Blippy accidentally made users’ credit card information readily available to the public last month.
Swipely is taking an active approach to reassure its users on the topic of security. The service says it safeguards credit card numbers with the same levels of encryption used by banks. Security certification companies such as VeriSign and Trustee have given the site a passing grade.
Buyers have a great deal of control over what they show other Swipely users. You are not required to add descriptions of your purchases, and automated reports do not include descriptions of the individual items bought. Also, users can choose whether to display how much they spent in any transaction.