Shopcasting

I like this term – shopcasting.

It describes a way of social shopping that I think is going to start to take off on the web. I’ve been shopcasting since I started my blog with my "in heavy rotation" list of music you can buy on Amazon. You simply click on the image of the record and you are taken to amazon where you can buy the item.

But I’ve wanted to do more of that but it’s been too hard. I’ve tried a number of shoppping/product related bling on my sidebars, notably badges from Riffs and Nabbr, but they didn’t really work the way I wanted them to.

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As you can all see, I’ve got some new bling on my sidebars (scroll down) that is showcasing items you can buy directly from the images in the badges. These are my shopcasting badges and they are powered by a company called ThisNext that was profiled on the Business 2.0 blog earlier this month.

Full disclosure, ThisNext was started by a good friend of mine, Gordon Gould. In this post, Gordon describes the vision behind ThisNext and why he and his partner Craig started the company.

Now this is not a new idea. As David Beisel outlines in this post about "badge proliferation" (sounds like a description of my blog), there are a bunch of social shopping companies out there. David explains:

Beyond the above affiliations, badges have the capability to
communicate about individuals’ relationships with products. As many
long-time readers of my blog know, I have a keen interest in “social
commerce” sites (see a post
from last December), as I have a vision where they could provide
consumers with rich social context and relevancy to the purchases which
they are making. The current crop of social shopping sites are
experimenting with badges as a way to promote their service. StyleFeeder, Wists, Nabbr, Kaboodle, Sprout Commerce (the creators of MyPickList and FavoriteThingz), and StyleHive – just to name a few – give consumers the ability to express themselves via products
in various ways. It’s a very powerful notion, especially as it
introduces the notion of monetizing these badges as forms of
advertising. It remains to be seen, however, if any of these services
can attract significant enough consumer adoption.

Exactly. It remains to be seen if any of these services can attract significant consumer adoption. But I am adopting ThisNext for a bunch of reasons, including my relationship with Gordon.

Here are the other reasons:

1 – they’ve got a nice bookmarklet that allows me to add any shopping related item I find on the Internet to ThisNext. You can see the "add to thisnext" bookmarklet in this picture of my Firefox toolbar below.

Thisnext_bookmarklet

2 – the site has a very nice user interface that is pleasing to the eye and simple to navigate.

3 – the badge creation tool (they call it shopcasting) is simple to use and apparently will be powerful enough to allow mashups (like the surfing related flickr mashup badge the right sidebar on Gordon’s blog) and style sheets (like the elegant badges on both lower sidebars on notcot).

I have created two ThisNext badges on this blog, both on the lower sidebars, roughly near my blogroll. The one on the left sidebar is controlled by me and showcases my favorite purchases of 2006.

The one on the right sidebar is for all of you, my readers. Simply post an item to ThisNext and tag it with avc and it will appear on the right sidebar badge right below my blogroll. I got this idea from notcot and I love it. I posted the first item (typepad) but the others were not from me. That’s real social shopping!

I hope you all find this new bling useful. I may convert my "in heavy rotation" and other music lists to ThisNext badges/lists as well. We’ll see.

For now, I am just happy to be shopcasting on AVC. Hopefully you’ll all join me.