Twitter has proven to be a quick and effective medium of communication but if saying “thank you” or “arigato” doesn’t seem enough, consider trying out Giftee, a service that lets users send small tokens of appreciation via Twitter. Unfortunately for most of us, it’s only available in Japan at the moment.
Giftee is a project of investor Yuma Umeda, which got the best project award at seed accelerator Open Network Lab 2010, and is funded by venture capitalist firm Inspire Corporation. Currently in beta, it has already partnered with more than 18 shops — mostly cafes and restaurants in Japan after only a month of operation. Gifts can be purchased using the online catalog using a credit card and once a transaction has been made, the recipient will be notified via a tweet. In cases of unclaimed gifts, Giftee will donate the payment to its charity projects.
Users are also encouraged to send donations to charitable institutions using Giftee. It is currently supporting two organizations — Coffee Kids, which supports families of coffee producers in Latin America, and TAP project 2011, which helps UNICEF provide clean water to children all over the world. Donations to Red Cross are also encouraged to support the recent earthquake victims.
Twitter has been the social network of choice in Japan, outperforming Facebook and Japanese social network site Mixi. Giftee is an intuitive service that I can imagine being popular in the fast-paced country, and can even be adopted by other countries.