Do you ever walk around during the day wishing people everywhere could know you just used your credit card to buy a Venti Latte at Starbucks? Wished you could impress people with that copy of the collected works of Kafka you just bought on Amazon? Well, now you can do all that thanks to a new site named Blippy.
Structured somewhat like Twitter, Blippy allows you to set up an account and enter one of your credit or debit cards into your account. Why would you want to do this? Well the whole point of the site is to share your credit transactions with your followers. Each purchase you make with your designated card goes into your public activity stream, and then your followers can leave comments about your purchases to start a conversation with them.
Depending on which company you make your charges with, some of them like Amazon, iTunes and Zappos will actually show what it is you purchased so that people can get detailed information on what sort of products you like, and it can even act as a bit of a recommendation for those products.
Blippy has just entered into a public beta, and has already secured $1.6 million in financing from the likes of Sequoia Capital, Charles River Ventures, angel investor Ron Conway, Twitter CEO Evan Williams, Jason Calacanis, James Hong and Ariel Poler.
With all of this said … why? Why does this service even exist? With all of the cries of foul over privacy settings with Facebook, why would anyone voluntarily want to share such personal information with the world? On the very first day of the site’s public beta status I saw someone had lunch at a Hooters restaurant, and now what happens if this person ever wishes to do business with someone who doesn’t approve of the atmosphere of that chain? There is already quite a bit of data out there that employers are checking social media sites when you apply for a job with them, and now you can give them even more ammunition than those pics of you drunk at a party back in your college days.
MG Siegler of TechCrunch interviewed Blippy founder Philip Kaplan about the service some time back, and Mr. Kaplan even suggested that you should have a “social” credit card and a “private” credit card. You would then use the public card any time you wanted to share something on the site, and you would use the private card when you wanted to make a purchases that you didn’t care for anyone to see. This is all well and good, but what happens when you get distracted and grab the wrong credit card out of your wallet? In seconds the world knows about your purchase that you would rather no one know about.
In the early 1980’s my father was a traveling salesman, and he once faced questioning from my mother over two charges that appeared on the credit card statement for some place named “Garden of Delight.” He explained it was a Chinese restaurant — which he later proved to her when she went on the road with him once — but what if that name showed up on someone’s Blippy activity stream? Within seconds people have formed an opinion about you, and they may not necessarily see you explaining what that establishment was.
And on the flip side, you have to wonder about people that are actually interested in knowing what you spend your money on. How can this possibly impact your life in any meaningful way that you actually need to know this information? It is like a 21st century version of a peeping tom that goes through someone’s garbage to get dirt on them. You might as well be peeking in their window late at night and watching them. Although you would have to label this as somewhat of a symbiotic relationship as the person essentially invited them in to do the viewing.
In short? For the life of me I can not fathom why anyone would want to use this site, and I’m even more stumped by how anyone has thought this was a good enough idea to invest in. Just how many people have taken a drink from the magical vat of Kool-Aid that makes people think that this is a good idea? This is so far from being a good idea that it isn’t even in the same zip code.
What do you think?