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This article was published on October 10, 2011

Shareagift is easy group gift buying for any occasion

Shareagift is easy group gift buying for any occasion
Drew Olanoff
Story by

Drew Olanoff

Drew Olanoff was The Next Web's West Coast Editor. He coined the phrase "Social Good" and invented the "donation by action" model for onlin Drew Olanoff was The Next Web's West Coast Editor. He coined the phrase "Social Good" and invented the "donation by action" model for online charitable movements. He founded #BlameDrewsCancer. You can follow him on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, or email [email protected]

Buying things online is nothing new, although we’ve seen many companies take a different approach to things. Sneakpeeq for example, lets you see an item and “flip the tag” like you would in a physical store.

Shareagift is a site that lets you set up a gift page for someone and ask your friends to chip in to buy it.

It’s a beautifully designed site, and a concept that could support a variety of different use-cases. For example, you could chip in to help someone with their medical bills, or buy some flowers and candy for someone going through a tough time. What Shareagift does well is let one person set up the gift page, and use their Paypal account to accept the money from others to purchase the gift.

The Gift page

Setting up a gift page takes only a few minutes. You are asked to enter the name of the person who is receiving a gift, what the gift will be, what occasion it’s for, and a personal message to those you’re asking to chip in.

When you set up your account, you’re asked to enter your Paypal email address. Shareagift automatically verifies the Paypal email address as acceptable or not, so there aren’t any extra steps or authorizations needed. It’s really well done.

The gift ideas are infinite, they could be for a wedding, a baby shower, or just because. The group nature of the service could really spark a new type of commerce online. Buying someone a Kindle for $149 could be difficult for you, but if you asked your friends to chip in, you might be able to get the item faster. The other great part is that the gift is from everyone, and that’s a great feeling.

Shareagift asks you how many people you think will give money towards the gift, and then calculates a suggest amount of money to give, which is a great touch and turns the decision maker into a no brainer for your friends.

Getting your friends involved

After you’ve set up your gift page, you can share it with contacts by importing them from most popular email services like Gmail and Yahoo! mail. You are also given a static link to share with people to make it more social.

We were lucky enough to discuss Shareagift with its CEO Justine Angelli:

TNW: What made you want to create Shareagift, and tell us about your team?

Justine Angelli: It was my aunt’s birthday and my cousin was collecting money for a laptop that she really wanted for Christmas. My cousin had to front the money (which she struggled to do) – and then chase up with all their friends and family to get the money. They lived in the countryside and it wasn’t that easy for everyone to drop by with the cash. I thought there had to be an easier way to sort it – and from there the idea for ShareAGift was born.

The team is super. Young, dynamic and live and breathe ShareAGift. We have American, Portuguese, English, Australian staff members to name a few nationalities . . . And having fun in the office and enjoying what we do every day is immensely important to all of us

TNW: What is the goal of Shareagift? And how do you make money, per transaction?

Justine Angelli: We hope that for every online user over the age of 18, whenever they think about gifts – they think of us. We take a small contribution of $1 that goes towards our running costs every time a friend or family makes a donation to a gift. Generally speaking it would cost more to buy wrapping paper, sellotape or even take the metro to look, buy and wrap a gift

TNW: Do you have any great stories/favorite gifts purchased for people by a group that you’d like to share?

Justine Angelli: I know of 2 girls who work together who both are in need of minor surgery and are setting up pages at the moment to help their friends collect money so that they might make that happen. Another is a friend of mine who is collecting money for their honeymoon.

TNW: Does group buying actually speed up purchasing intent, thus making your site a place to sell MORE items than say an Amazon or other E-Commerce site?

Justine Angelli: Yes. A number of people who come to the site still aren’t sure what item/ or experience they want to give the person they are raising the money for. We successfully get the money and the present suggestion sorted in the one hit. Saving them stress!

TNW: Do you have any partnerships with retailers?

Justine Angelli: We do through our gift wizard – ‘Find–A-Gift’ that is incorporated in the site. Our retailers span across the US and UK.

TNW: What does the future hold for ShareAGift, new features, apps?

Justine Angelli: Birthday reminders, automated pdf gift cards which will include all messages posted on the gift pages, automated gift page reminders, personal gift wish lists, youtube video submittal of those receiving their gifts . . . the list goes on.

Of course with a service like this, or any group service that accepts money to a single point of contact, there is a lot of trust involved. If you’re sharing a gift page with your friends, they more than likely already trust you. Unfortunately, something like this could be used for a social media scam if someone wants to pretend they’re raising funds for something or someone who doesn’t exist.

My advice would be to only participate in Shareagift if you know the person you’re buying a gift for, and the person who is the single point of contact for the funds.