July 26, 2012
Stamped Social-Sharing App Revamps With Host Of Celebrity Investors
Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Stamped, the social-sharing app for iPhones and iPods, is getting a fresh new look and feel today as the startup of ex-Googlers revamps its catchy product. First rolled out in November 2011, Stamped allows users to keep track of and share things they like with their friends, such as restaurants, books, and films.
And to help get the buzz out about the new update, Stamped is adding a celebrity lineup of new investors, including Justin Bieber, Ellen DeGeneres, Ryan Seacrest, and media companies such as The New York Times and Columbia Records. Even Google Chairman Eric Schmidt joined the lineup.
“We went out and discussed Stamped with [investors] that ended up really sharing our vision,” said Robby Stein, the CEO and co-founder of Stamped. “Obviously, people form a few different camps, and there´s kind of a celebrity camp. People constantly want to know what Justin´s into, for instance–what movies he´s into, what music he´s into. Because for a lot of people, that´s how they find new things.”
But while the celebrity aspect is expected to bring in new users, the company said it´s the redesign of the app that will be the big draw once the celebrity-ness wears off.
A March update to the app enabled users to view the recommendations of not only their friends, but also friends of friends and the entire Stamped network. The app was designed to offer a better on-boarding experience to first-time users whose friends may not be active users of the app.
Shortly after releasing that update, the team decided to ditch the entire app and rebuild it from scratch, Stein told Mashable in an interview. “There´s not one piece of [old] code in the new version,” he said.
The move to rebuild the app came after analysts and users soon started lumping it into the “rate everything” category, something the Stamped team refuted. “Because of the way other services have been launched around us, we were kind of grouped together, but that was improperly done,” he added.
“We´re not a way to rate things,” he explained. “We´re a way to share your favorite things. We want you to have one beautiful place to stamp your favorite movies, books, restaurants, and anything that you love, and create one home for all that to live.”
The updated app´s function and aesthetic is still essentially the same as the old, but in a much more dynamic fashion. Previously, recommendations were organized by recentness; now they are categorized and contextualized under “The Guide,” a new vertical that lets you quickly surface suggestions by activity.
The overall experience of the updated app has also improved, and includes a more media-rich news feed of shared items and integrations from several third-party services to give users more control of what they can do with the app. Friends can like, comment and add items their friends share to personal to-do lists in the app.
Users can also see how their friends are interacting with their stamps -- whether they are listening to the same album the user recommended, or checked a menu out at a bakery stamped last week. While it may not sound like much, it is a big improvement from the previous version.
Stamped also released a version of the app for the web. The web version, however, is read only, but makes it easier for users to share recommendations with friends who do not use Stamped. Eventually, the creators hope the web version will be able to do everything the mobile version does.
With support and funding from its celebrity investors, Stamped is on par to create and maintain the next hot buzz in the social sharing universe. So far the funding rounds have pushed Stamped past $3 million in less than a year after a launch.
Stein said the startup is currently waiting for feedback from its users to determine if there is interest in deepening integration with service like Netflix and Spotify. And despite no timeline for an Android app, Stein noted there may be one “sometime next year.”
In maintaining a different approach to social-sharing than say what Facebook or FourSquare allows, the Stamped app allots users with 100 stamps to dole out, and once they are gone, they are gone. Users can only receive more stamps if others approve of their choices.
“We´re trying to make a stamp worth something,” said Stein. “So it´s different than a check-in or a like, which is kind of cheap. You check-in anywhere, so you don´t know if someone really liked it.”