Social purchasing

Move over Myspace, Facebook and Twitter, there is a new social networking site on the Internet, but it is asking a lot more than just “What’s on your mind?”

Move over Myspace, Facebook and Twitter, there is a new social networking site on the Internet, but it is asking a lot more than just “What’s on your mind?”

Blippy is a social networking site that mimics Twitter’s real-time posts, but instead of updating how you are feeling, you are updating what you are spending. The website encourages its users to share their spending habits.

Blippy is a social networking site that allows you to automatically share your purchases as you make them. This includes the place you made the purchase, the amount, and in some cases, the item. Then other Blippy users can comment and “like” people’s purchases just as someone can “like” a person’s status on Facebook.

Since its launch this year in January it has raised $11.2 million from the Silicon Valley venture capital firms August Capital and Charles River Ventures. That values at $46.2 million. It is based in Palo Alto, Calif.

Blippy allows users to link their credit and debit card information to the site so that people can share the things they buy everyday with other users. Recently, Blippy’s website had a malfunction where almost 200 transactions made by four users’ card numbers were leaked into Google search results. founder Philip Kaplan acknowledged the glitch and said that it was an incident that occurred while the site was still in Beta testing.

This kind of malfunction really should not have been such a shock. What else do you expect when you personally advertise your credit/debit card number over the Internet to brag about what you have recently purchased?

Putting this kind of information on the Internet used to be considered something people would never do—it was something people were warned about, and with good reason. You are not just sharing this information with a small group of friends (let’s face it, who really gives their best friends their credit/debit card numbers), but with a large public.

At face value, one would expect that people would not be so careless as to connect their credit and/or debit card numbers in order to share to the world their shopping habits. But Blippy, in the short time it has been around, is growing more and more popular.

It seems like the point of Blippy is to brag about what users have purchased and to either approve or disapprove of those purchases. How much of a consumer culture have we become? How obsessed must we be as a society with material objects for a site like this to even get off the ground?

Why do people care what other people buy? Most of the time when you are talking to someone about the dinner you bought over the weekend, they do not care unless you are going to share that dinner with them.

Why care now? Why risk the identity theft? What is the point? Blippy claims its point is to give recommendations and suggestions to people. That seems like a plausible possibility without sharing vital information such as your debit or credit card number.

Here is a grand idea: Actually talk to someone. Ask someone for a recommendation. Do not rely on a website for that. Or, if that is too far out of your comfort zone, then there are plenty of reviews online without sharing any important information.

The whole Blippy concept is ridiculous. Wise up and grow up. It is ludicrous to have to brag about recent shopping adventures or dining experiences. Or, if you want to brag, stick to Facebook and Twitter at least.