Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Karma: A Social Shopping App That’s Actually Social

While new breakout commerce sites like generally seem to be about personal splurges, what about extending that serendipitous online shopping experience to gifting? That’s what Karma, a new app for iOS and Android, is doing.

Karma is designed to help users find reasons and inspirations to give gifts to their Facebook friends, by identifying their birthdays and other occasions (it also works without logging into Facebook).

The selected products seem to mostly be on the fancy, hipster side of the spectrum. They include jewelry and artsy home decor, chocolates and champagne, and Netflix and Spotify subscriptions.

After the giver picks a gift and chooses a custom card, Karma texts, emails or Facebook-messages the recipient to personalize the gift (by picking colors, sizes, etc.) and enter a shipping address.

Karma was founded in June 2011 by the co-founders of Tapjoy, and is funded by Kleiner Perkins, Obvious Corporation, Sequoia Capital and Felicis Ventures.

There are many so-called “social shopping” apps, but Karma’s gifting concept — with its focus on decreasing the friction between gift buyer and recipient — helps this one really live up to the name, for once. Tricia Duryee has written lots on other companies in the space; here, for example.

I couldn’t easily find the Karma app, which was just released, by searching in the Apple store tonight, but here are direct links for iOS and Android.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald