A social network for sharing credit card transactions?

Now how is that: you just purchased new shoes from Zappos, books from Amazon or anything else from the mall nearby. Wouldn’t you just love to tell everyone about whatever you bought with your credit card? No? Yes? If so, here is the perfect social network for you: Blippy. Mindsproutmarketing explains the new kid on the block:

In a nutshell, Blippy is a service that lets members automatically share their credit card transactions as they make them. Not only will members see the amount of your purchase, but they’ll also be privy to the place of purchase and items included in the transaction.

I am just not sure, why anyone would want to do this? Nevermind data privacy or simply modesty about one’s purchases. How about data security?

According to a 2009 study conducted by Javelin Strategy and Research, there were 10 million victims of identity theft in 2008 in the United States. Nearly half, or 43 percent, of all identity theft observed was through stolen wallets and physical paperwork, whereas online methods had accounted for only 11 percent. However unsettling these figures are they haven’t stopped the thousands of people who are clammering to become members of Blippy. Founders insist that their state-of-the-art encryption will protect data from being stolen or reused.

So what is it good for?

Instead of gasping at prices or snickering at purchases, members are actually exchanging details about great finds and super bargains. Even more common, is discovering places to shop that are off the beaten path and alerting others to special discounts to be found. Blippy can really be described as something similar to a tweet-feed based on shopping.

Along these same lines, stores could alert shoppers about local deals and make recommendations based on items previously purchased. Marketing firms could review spending habits to understand consumers and deliver targeted products and services that would be more appealing to them.

In the meantime, trend experts predict that Blippy is the next big thing. Giving the world a sneak peek inside your wallet is definitely a way to channel discussion on spending habits and connect with other people with similar interests by way of spend pattern.

Somehow I am not convinced. Consumers in the US might be willing to share their purchase history. It is the nation of credit cards (and credit crisis for that matter), but I can’t see that kind of social network take off, at least not anywhere else. Not everything that can be done, should be done or is a good idea.

From a marketers perspective, it seems to be a fantastic idea. Many companies are very eager to get their hands on information on spending patterns well beyond their own product range. So I assume that the business idea of blippy is very much focused on reselling the data of the social network participants. But this is, of course, just my 2 cents.

How to choose the right Social Media approach.

2010 will be the year, in which (at least in Germany) companies will try to strategically integrate Social Media into their marketing mix. As opposed to previous years, when Social Media (often phrased as “viral” campaign elements) was already part of the briefing due to the glitter and glamour, but nobody could actually pinpoint the relevance and contribution of the tactics.

Jeremiah Owyang is now providing some guidance for the first and essential question for companies trying to look at the subject wholistically: is it a brand play, is it a product play, shall we enter with a lifestyle approach or separate activities by location?

His approach is a Matrix: How To Choose Social Media Programs by Brand, Lifestyle, Product or Location to avoid the following pitfalls:

Companies that choose poorly will have wasted internal efforts and resources, set up false expectations for customers and may struggle with trying to redact a program in public where customers are already assembling. [...] having no strategy means that product teams, regional teams, and individual regions will do whatever they want –causing clean up for corporate late.

As a first orientation I think this will serve companies quite well. Surely, each quadrant can be made more specific to each companies situation and needs, but that should be left for the individual Social Media consultant…

At the end there is short guidance on how to choose the right mix:

  1. First, be customer focused.
  2. For best results, use in combinations
  3. Think long term –not just by campaign.