Wigix: An Idea Whose Time Has Finally Come
Wigix is launching its public beta today and the world of online auctions, indeed the world of "stuff" in general may never be the same. As an early investor in Wigix and an avid fan of its team and concept I want to congratulate the Wigix team on all the hard work that has gotten them to this point!
What exactly is Wigix? Wigix is, at its heart, an ambitious attempt to bring online auctions into the 21st century by applying modern market technology to everyday items. In essence, Wigix creates a stock market for your stuff. Into this stock market Wigix then weaves a deep sense of community and persistence which then enables people to track, discuss, and share information about their stuff.
The ultimate, rather immodest, goal of Wigix is to create a complete record of every item in existence, who owns it and what it's worth, as well as a platform that enables people to track, discuss, and trade all of those items.
Ever wonder how much your stuff was currently worth? Or what other people paid for their original iPod? Or what owners of the PS3 think is its worst feature? Or what interesting things your friends just purchased and why? Wigix is a platform that can provide answers to all these questions as well as an online auction experience that is light years ahead of what's available on the Internet today.
Despite just entering its beta launch, Wigix is already an incredibly rich site with a huge amount to see and do. It’s still a beta though, so there a few features left to add and a lot of content still to come. I could go on and on about Wigix and why I believe it’s one of the most interesting web platforms that has launched in a long time, but you’d be better served by just jumping over to the site and taking a look around for yourself.
Top 10 Things to See and Do On Wigix
Before you go though, let me give you my list of the Top 10 things to see and do on Wigix as a way to highlight some of the most interesting aspects of the site:
- SKUs: Wigix does not have listings, but rather SKUs. SKUs are kind of like a pre-built listing or a stock ticker for a specific item. Users simply indicate which SKUs they own by placing these SKUs into their portfolio. Once in their portfolio, a user can track the value of that SKU and then decide to sell it at any time in the future. Once you see a SKU and compare it to a listing at a traditional online auction site, you will never want to go back. For example, check out the SKU for the iPhone and look at the all the rich detail and information that is available.
- Catalog Browsing: At the heart of Wigix is a catalog of SKUs, roughly 462,000 and growing. These SKUs are necessary to enable trading, but they also create what is in effect a huge catalog of stuff. Try browsing through the catalog. It is a very cool and visually appealing experience thanks to some nifty programming by the team. I think Wigix’s browsing and search features have set a new standard for product catalogs on the web.
- Persistent Portfolios: Wigix does not charge listing fees but rather encourages all users, not just buyers and sellers, to build and maintain portfolios of their stuff, similar to stock portfolios. These "stuff portfolios" persist over time allowing users to not only track market prices for their stuff but to track the stuff accumulated by friends, family, and fellow collectors. Try it out by registering and adding a few things you either own or want to own to your own portfolio and you’ll immediately how easy it is. Here is my public portfolio of stuff (you need to register to view it), feel free to make a bid if you see something you like!
- “Ask the Owners”: Ever have a very specific question about a potential purchase but have been unable to find the answer on the product’s website or in product reviews? Because Wigix keeps track of who owns what, it’s possible for any user to ask the owners of a particular product a specific question. If they want to, the owners can then respond with an answer. I did this when I wanted to know what Wii game I should I buy for my nephew. Check out the responses on the Wii SKU page under the “Ask the Owners” tab. Very cool.
- Bid/Ask Trading: While the NASDAQ uses a bid/ask trade system to trade stocks, Wigix uses a bid/ask trade system to trade stuff. In comparison, EBay uses what are called "English Auctions". Wigix's bid/ask system enables instant trading, continuous historical data, and is not subject to "shilling" or "sniping", two problems that are endemic to EBay. It’s interesting to note, that many stocks and bonds were also once traded using English Auctions, but once bid/ask-based exchanges opened, the purveyors of these English Auctions quickly disappeared.
- Community : Wigix has woven community and social networking technologies directly into the main features of the site. This makes it possible for people to keep track of what friends, family, and fellow collectors own or want to own. It also makes it possible to interact with the owners of a particular item and join groups of like minded individuals. If you register, make sure to add me as a friend (my user name is “Bill”) to get a sense of the community features.
- SKU Owners: In the same spirit as Wikipedia, Wigix’s catalog of SKUs can be expanded and enhanced by any user. Wigix rewards SKU contributors with a small share of the revenues generated by that SKU. Try adding your car or cell phone (if they aren’t already in the catalog).
- Category Experts: Manging all of the SKUs in a particular category is the responsibility of category experts. Who are the category experts? Pretty much anyone who has the passion and inclination to apply. Like a guide at About.com, Category experts get a small revenue share of all the revenues generated by the SKUs in their category. From a technical perspective, what’s cool about both SKU ownership and the category experts is that to enable those features Wigix has had to create to what amounts to a massively distributed database that can support thousands of what are, in effect, DBAs. I am the current Category Expert for Audis, Digital Media Players and NAS Drives. If you are really passionate about a particular category of stuff, apply to be an expert. It’s not much work and it’s a lot of fun being master of your own little corner of the database.
- SKU Trading: Once you add a SKU to the catalog and your submission is approved by the appropriate category expert, you own the SKU and not only are entitled to a share of the revenue it produces, but you can actually trade ownership of the SKU, in the same way that you can buy and sell a domain name. Now the value of a SKU is very speculative at this point because they won’t have any value until they start generating revenues, but in the meantime it is fun to speculate and trade them. In fact I picked up the Blackberry 8700c for $1 this morning although someone just bid $30 for the iPhone SKU (I had bid $1), so it looks like I won’t be getting that one…
- Facebook Apps: Yes like any good start-up these days, Wigix has its own Facebook apps. My favorite is the MyWigix application which allows me to display my portfolio of stuff on my Facebook profile and automatically creates new Facebook feed items when I get new stuff.
Anyway, as I said before, I could go on and on (and to some extent already have), so to keep this post managable I will end things here. I think I’ll write another post in the future that points out from a business model and technology perspective how Wigix differs from today’s King of online auctions, EBay, but today I just want to congratulate the Wigix team for reaching this milestone.
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The thoughts and opinions on this blog are mine and mine alone and not affiliated in any way with Inductive Capital LP, San Andreas Capital LLC, or any other company I am involved with. Nothing written in this blog should be considered investment, tax, legal,financial or any other kind of advice. These writings, misinformed as they may be, are just my personal opinions.