November 29, 2011
With SellSimply’s Chirp, launched at the beginning of November, making a payment is as easy as a tweet:
@SellSimply #pay @ThePayee $200 for [reason]
The Portland-based startup also lets users purchase items or donate to charities by replying to tweets like the following:
Donate to the disaster relief fund. Reply all with “donate” to give $12 via @SellSimply
These micro-blogged payments have enticed thousands of users to list over 10,000 items. To do so, they had to register with SellSimply and link their PayPal account to their Twitter account.
Like payers, recipients get receipts by direct message, by email, and on their SellSimply account page. Fees are 2% to receive direct payments, and 4% (or less, for those who pay a license fee) for sellers and charitable organizations, in addition to PayPal fees.
SellSimply’s Chrome extension lets sellers directly import their Etsy, Ebay, and Craigslist items to advertise on Twitter, where they can reach even more buyers with retweets. Items for sale are also searchable on SellSimply, in case they get lost in the wave of real-time tweets.
I expect SellSimply’s biggest challenge to be convincing users to transact on Twitter. The service automatically chooses the cheapest shipping option for your address, so the process loses some convenience for buyers looking for fast shipping, who have to log on and change their order.
But a larger issue – at least, perhaps, in the eyes of users – may be security. SellSimply is clearly aware of this; when you hover over their “Sign in with Twitter” button, it says, “Don’t worry. We’re safe, secure, and we won’t do something dumb like auto-tweet from your account how much you love Justin Bieber.” PayPal protects against fraud and handles dispute resolution, and SellSimply limits transactions to $2,000. Founder Chris Teso says that anyone hacking or misusing your account could be immediately detected because tweets are public:
“The problem for the hacker is that the fake Twitter account they created would need to be connected to a real PayPal account which is connected to a real bank account. The entire chain of transaction would be very traceable.”
Absent any security breaches – and as long as Twitter doesn’t create its own in-house payment service – SellSimply could see promising growth. And, according to a tweet by Teso, there’s much more to come:
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