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This article was published on July 25, 2012

Tip or Skip is probably the most addictive way to get your friends to buy things, ever

Tip or Skip is probably the most addictive way to get your friends to buy things, ever
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]

Here’s an interesting idea: let people submit products that they own or like and then let the world show their interest in it by “tipping” or “skipping” it. Yes, it’s as simple as a popular site we all remember, HotOrNot. It’s quite brilliant, and it’s quite addictive.

The site is called Tip Or Skip, and is definitely one of those ideas that you think “Man, why didn’t I think of that?” It’s basically a game to get massive amounts of data points that reflect purchase intent from you.

Once you visit the site, you sign up with your Facebook account and you’re ready to start tipping or skipping products submitted by the global audience:

As you tip things, you can choose to share those items with your Facebook friends, via Open Graph and Timeline integration. While that could get a bit annoying, you can earn something called “sway” within the site for becoming a helpful tastemaker.

I spoke to Tip or Skip’s Co-Founder Nathaniel McNamara yesterday, and here’s what he told TNW:

TNW: Is the company following clicks through to purchase? Are you getting a cut, or will you in the future?

Nathaniel McNamara: Users can click through on the specific product pages and go to the place to buy the product. We are not focused on collecting affiliate commissions, but instead think that there are other ways that retailers can engage consumers interested in their products.

TNW:Is this a site and an app?

Nathaniel McNamara: We offer a rich app like experience on the phone and on the web. We use canvas (a new HTML5 technology that allows a nearly native app experience within the browser) to present our platform. As a player, you can play Tip or Skip at http://tiporskip.com, download the iOS app, or play on your browser on Android, iPhone, or (some) Blackberry phones.

TNW: Where did the idea come from, how long have you been working on it?

Nathaniel McNamara: Mike and I have been friends since 2nd grade, so this has been in the works for 30 years. ;) More recently, we started tinkering with ideas 4 years ago, finally raising a $2MM round of financing last summer to launch Tip or Skip. The inspiration for Tip or Skip combines my long experience with mobile commerce experience and Mike’s experience building and research social technology.

In more detail:
– I have a lengthy history in mobile commerce
– I was part of the founding team of PrivacyBank which was sold to InfoSpace that powered the first mobile commerce solution for AT&T and Cingular
– I was also part of the original team at JPMorgan Chase that launched PayPass (the tappable credit card)
– My cofounder, Mike Weiksner, and I have been friends for 30+ years since meeting in 2nd grade at P.S. 6 in Manhattan
– Mike was getting his PhD at Stanford when I suggested he take the infamous “Facebook Class” where
– Mike previously founded e-thePeople which now provides electronic voter guides to over 20 million people

TNW: Are you partnering with brands to do sponsored tips?

Nathaniel McNamara: That’s an interesting idea, it’s something we might consider in the future. We do think that brands will compete to offer deals to consumers who have expressed interest in their products.

TNW: What have you learned during beta testing?

Nathaniel McNamara: Tip or Skip can be pretty engaging and viral. :)

We have received great feedback – one person played over 2000 rounds of Tip or Skip in one sitting.

A significant portion of active users have purchased products based on items that they have found on Tip or Skip.

During the 3 month closed beta, every vintage of users (e.g., cohort based on the time that they joined) has used it more in subsequent weeks than in their first week.

We tracked the virality of the platform and noticed that each engaged user attracts more than one new additional user through our Facebook Open Graph integration.


Once you’ve played around on the site, you can actually explore for interesting things based on popularity. Yes, there’s a method to all of the madness:

The site is definitely worth trying out, if only to bring back the HotOrNot memories. Let us know what you think about Tip or Skip in the comments below.

Tip or Skip

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