October 23rd, 2012
A picture is worth a thousand words, but an Instagram photo is worth a thousand bucks
Startups often get critiqued for being one-trick ponies. They launch an impressive single-point solution but don’t have the vision to extend their offering. So when they clear that hurdle, it’s a big deal. And Portland-based Chirpify just cleared that hurdle in spectacular fashion.
Chirpify, a graduate of startup accelerator Upstart Labs, began its life as a means of enabling purchasing transactions via Twitter—buying and selling with a tweet. But founder Chris Teso always had bigger ideas for “social commerce.” Today, the next step in that plan was revealed as Chirpify unveiled commerce via
social photo juggernaut Instagram.
“Today Chirpify took another step to decentralize commerce and payments across all streams from any device, whether a mobile phone or desktop computer,” said Teso in a press release. “If people can’t buy it in-stream it’s not social commerce. It’s advertising. We turn attention re-routing advertising into high value in-stream transactions. We’re the only company truly doing social commerce.”
Much like its Twitter service, Chirpify for Instagram allows users to buy and sell items through comments in the Instagram stream. Meaning? Meaning Instagram just became your one stop photo shop… err marketplace for interesting photos.
I find this interesting for any number of reasons, but here are few that seem worth sharing.
First, folks may not know this, but Teso is a talented photographer in his own right. So finding a way to enable commerce for professional photographers and would be professionals in a simple and elegant way must have been a personal point of gratification for him—as well as a shrewd business move. As no one has really knocked it out of the park on the hobbyist photo market.
Second, this offering opens up a whole new dataset for Chirpify, cracking open the black box of how people use Instagram. Unlike assumptions about Pinterest for commerce, Chirpify has access to real data about how people are using Twitter and Instagram to buy and sell goods.
Third, and perhaps most importantly, Instagram is owned by Facebook. And if you’re trying to build a social commerce company, Facebook is the holy grail of transactional revenue. If the Instagram arrangement proves fruitful, this may be the back door into further integration on the Facebook platform.
Posts continue to pop about this announcement. I’ll catch you up with a round up once things settle down a bit.
For now, you can get more information by reading the Chirpify for Instagram press release.