October 3, 2011
Maybe I’m getting old, but when I first saw Want, I thought to myself: why would I “want” this? But like many people, once I started using it, I became a fan.
Want is an iPhone app that allows you to take photos of items you want and share them with friends. Using the app is easy: simply start it up, and you see a feed of other people’s wants. You can also view wants by location or category. When you see an item in a store window that you must have, just snap a photo and enter a short description, and the app will automatically share the item with your friends.
Want has been widely publicized as the real-world alternative to the “Like” button. There have also been questions in the media as to whether Want poses a threat to “Like” and to Facebook in general. While there are definitely similarities between Want and “Like,” I think that these are very different concepts and can easily co-exist together. Want focuses on what the company calls “emotion vectors,” based on your innate emotional response to things that you really desire. “Likes,” meanwhile, are more often used to show approval of an item or concept. To put it another way, you won’t necessarily buy everything you “Like,” but if you have the money, you will definitely go out and buy everything you Want.
So what can you use it for? Well, in my family, it will be a huge time saver during Christmas, when I have to buy presents for dozens of people, many of whom I rarely see. This year, it will be great to be able to open my want feed and immediately see what I need to buy and where. No more individual gift lists, and better yet, no more anxiety over what to buy for my curmudgeonly great uncle.
Behind Want is Skymarker, helmed by all-star CEO Gene DeRose. DeRose was formerly CEO of Jupiter Communications (remember Jupiter?), as well as House Party and JDS Pharmaceuticals. The company was initially funded by its founders, but has later added angel investment. According to DeRose, the company plans to monetize the app by using data collected from users to better target advertisements and marketing campaigns as well as offer targeted deals based on users’ desires.
There is a lot of money pouring into this area, and it will be interesting to see if Want will be snapped up by a larger company in the targeted marketing/deals space, such as Groupon, Living Social, or AdMob. However, there are competitors, in the field, most notably iDibbIt, which has the advantage of being available on Android as well.
Want has great potential, but it remains to be seen whether it can break loose in a crowded field and get a critical mass of “wanters” in order to make the site really useful to the masses. Give it a try and let me know if you like it as much as I did – leave a comment below!
Guest blogger Ash Nadkarni is in her final year of residency in Psychiatry at Boston Medical Center and is the co-founder of Appguppy, a mobile startup that makes it fast and free to create and distribute mobile apps to any smartphone OS without coding. You can follow her on Twitter at @appguppy.
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