Blippr gets social influence marketing. 160 character reviewsTweet
I'm going to take a chance and talk about a web service that I've just started playing with. Only because I think it has phenomenal potential. It is one of those web services that I've been waiting to use for a few years. Its called Blippr and its in private beta at the moment.
The service is relatively straightforward. Think Epinions meets Twitter and Digg and you have Blippr. People review movies, books, games, movies and music but each review is limited to 160 characters in length. The more you review yourself, the better the review engine gets at making suggestions for you. Items reviewed move up and down the rankings based on other reviews and recommendations. You can see how other people are reviewing certain items and limit reviews to only those of your friends.
The way you get the most out of Blippr is by inviting your friends to join the network and start recommending items. That way rather than trying to keep track of recommendations at dinner parties, you can see what matters to each friend through Blippr. You can follow people with similar tastes too. That helps you find new items that you're certain to like. This feature reminds me of the Borders "If you liked this book, you'll like these" promotion in its stores.
Blippr is very sensitive about coming across as yet another social network. So instead they encourage you to find Blippr on your favorite social network and use it their via a widget. Smart strategy.
Why does Blippr matter?
Because it understands how social influence marketing works. We're heavily influenced by our peers and also those anonymous influencers out there. But we don't have the time to read detailed reviews. Often a few lines are all that are needed to influence us. The closer the person is to us, the fewer words it takes for that person to influence. For example, a friend of mine is a wine geek and all he has to do is mention the name of a wine and I'm off to the local wine shop to pick it up. These recommendations take less than 160 characters.
But its not just what it takes to be influenced on the other end of the spectrum, it is far easier to write a 160 character review than a few paragraphs. We're more likely to write these reviews in the context of a specific activity. For example, if I am staying in a hotel and it sucks, I'll be more inclined to write a 160 character review via my phone than return to New York and sit down at a computer to write a more detailed reviews. Sure, the 160 character review will be less informative but there will probably 10 more of them. Just scan some twitter newsfeeds and you'll notice that a lot of tweets are mini-reviews.
So what's missing from Blippr?
Firstly, it needs to get out of public beta soon. The folks at Blippr are probably investing in their technology infrastructure before going mainstream. They probably don't want to be hit by outages the way Twitter has been.
Talking of Twitter, Blippr needs to figure out a way to import my Twitter friends. From what I've been told, it doesn't do this very well as yet. That'll make my life much easier. Blippr also needs to include restaurants. I was surprised that it doesn't as yet. Restaurant reviews are huge and I can see myself writing a 160 character review of a restaurant while eating there (okay, maybe when my wife has left for the restroom).
And lastly, Blippr needs to allow users to create their own categories. I'd add wine immediately as that's a personal interest and I have some friends who explore the world of wine with me. I can't imagine what a tag cloud of user categories would look like. Update from the screenshots it looks like they do have tags and tag clouds, but I can't be certain.
Blippr has a lot of potential if you ask me. I wonder how it will do when it gets out of private beta. One thing is certain, it gets social influence marketing by depending upon the peer and anonymous influences, leveraging social media and making it incredibly easy for consumers. Maybe a leading player like Baazarvoice should look at them.
Follow me on Twitter (@shivsingh) for more insights on digital strategy and social media.