Sincerely’s Sesame Up Against Facebook Gifts

Sincerely, the start up that brought us Postagram and PopBooth, announced today it would be launching its latest venture, just in time for the holiday gift-giving season. It’s called Sesame, and Sincerely announced on its blog today that the new gift-giving app is set to rival Facebook’s Gifts as soon as its released in the next few weeks. Sincerely cites its loyal 1.2 million member fan base as the drive behind its predicted success.

We are excited about the growth of our network and about the growing number of cards our users are sending.   We will continue to invest in making Postagram, Ink and our partner apps the best card sending apps on your phone. But 2 years ago when we started Sincerely, we knew we weren’t going to stop at cards. Cards just happen to be the simplest gift – a great place to start.

While it isn’t clear yet exactly how Sesame’s model will standout from Facebook’s, the focus seems to be on the packaging. The only teaser Sincerely’s releasing is this pretty picture featuring a Tiffany Blue delivery:

One way Sincerely (1 million users) could compete with Facebook (1 billion users)? Mobile coupons. We’ll see. Stay tuned.

Toast to Mobile Wish Lists

We have this pretty appalling Christmas tradition in my family called “The Hate Pile.” It’s pretty self-explanatory but we try to have fun with it. Because someone always buys someone else some really strange/inappropriate/what-were-you-thinking gift that has to be exchanged.

This morning I blogged about Treater, a new social gift giving app that lets users select “treats” to give to their Facebook friends. The point of the app is sort of to prove you know exactly what your best friend or close relative needs at any moment. The new Toast app for IOS is kind of the opposite approach; it’s a mobile wish list that lets users make specific wishes (in terms of item, location, store, price) so there’s no confusion ever about what to get them for birthdays/holidays.

The goal of Toast seems to be way more specific than, say, Pinterest. Because when you make a wish list you’re not saying “Oh, that’s pretty” or “Oh, I’ll make that some day.” You’re saying “I want that. Now.”

My first, modest wish

I like Toast because a lot of people use lists to buy/request gifts. It saves a lot of time and, ultimately, money. And Toast makes writing out your birthday wishlist a lot less obnoxious. I’ll be interested to see what direction Toast takes in this growing world of social gifting/wishing/pinning – especially since the launch of Facebook Gifts. Some toasters are wishing for “nice weather,” which sort of defeats the purpose of wishing for tangible things your friends can actually give you.


Facebook Gifts Heats up Social Gift Giving

Social, mobile gift giving makes so much sense because it saves time and (often) money while it adds an extra dimension of thoughtfulness to dull, dry paper and plastic gift cards. Today, your smartphone lets you give mini gifts for free to social network acquaintances (Wrapp) or even give friends you know all too well super-customized gift cards for absolutely anything, anywhere (Giftly.) Facebook is in on the deal now, and its gift giving service is no small measure; experts project that Facebook Gifts could bring in 5 billion for Facebook this year alone – while Gifts is still just available exclusively to users in the US.

How does Gifts work? Very soon, you’ll start to see gift giving options pop up in your Facebook feed. There will be a “Give him/her a gift” prompt when you go to write “happy birthday” to a friend, or just when you want to post on someone’s timeline for kicks. Once you open the Gifts page, you can browse what’s for sale and select the gift you want to give – item details like sizes and colors can be left up to the recipient to decide, and you can either pay for your gift upfront, or wait for your friend to confirm that he/she received the card/notification that’s attached. Then he or she determines where the gift will be shipped and… that’s it. No advanced planning, no knowledge of where your friend even lives required.

We’re talking about Facebook-operated Amazon. In fact, Facebook Gifts is projected to rival established e-commerce giants as well as breakthrough boutique sites like Fab. Facebook mans everything about Gifts – from selecting and listing gifts, to shipping and handling, to processing payments and addressing customer service issues. A relatively select service as of now, Gifts is only going to get bigger. Lee Linden, creator of Karma, which Facebook acquired and modeled Gifts after, told

“We’re starting with the US, and we’ll evaluate in the future what makes sense. Facebook is a global company … We have employees in many countries, and we already modify our services for other countries based on their needs and tastes.”

I really can’t wait to see what exactly is in the Facebook Gifts store. If the selection isn’t super-impressive, I can totally see lots of  “Not another Facebook gift” situations happening. Right now, I’m seeing a lot of overpriced teddy bears and gourmet chocolate. But I’m extremely optimistic about the future of Facebook with Gifts and I would be telling a fat lie if I said I’m not expecting a few extra birthday presents this year – you know, because Facebook kind of killed everybody’s excuses.