ClayValet.com (not in ‘Beta’ but in ‘Preview’ mode!) offers online personal shopping services for free. I am sure lots of men have dreamed about this. Don’t know what to buy for that special friend? Ask ClayValet.
Just tell ClayValet what kind of person (hobbies, tastes, interests & age) it is that you want to buy something for and within 24 hours ClayValet will send you a detailed report with a personalized suggestion. I assumed that somewhere, hidden in this suggestion, would be a referral link so that if you follow their advice they will earn a percentage. When I asked Mikhail Seregine about their businessmodel he told me “We are more interested in generating really useful recommendations than in collecting affiliate revenue. We do have some affiliate relationships with merchants, but most of the recommendations we have generated do not include affiliate referrals.”
ClayValet uses real personal shoppers to come up with their shopping suggestions which might become a problem if people actually start using this. But you do have to sign up first and are limited to 5 search queries a week. Seregine assures us that they “are prepared to handle substantial usage growth.”.
And if you decide to give yourself a present you can also just ask them for a cheap deal. They don’t just search for gifts but also for good deals.
I asked Seregine about their future plans for ClayVallet: “Our current focus is on improving the clarity and usefulness of our recommendations by adding custom features for different types of products, verifying the quality of our advice, and better explaining how we selected the product we’re recommending.”
ClayValet is a four people start-up based in Seattle which was founded by Seregine who worked for Inktomi, Sun and Amazon before he started ClayValet. I can imagine lots of local or specialized versions of these kind of services pop-up if (and that is a big IF) this takes off.