Friday, April 11, 2008

Shopflick: Bringing Home-Video Shopping To The Web (Beta Invites)


shopflick-logo.pngIt was only a matter of time before someone created an online video-shopping marketplace. Mix together eBay and YouTube and you get Shopflick, a Los Angeles-based startup in private beta that wants to bring the art of video selling to the Web. Sellers can set up shop with their own page highlighting their store and the products they have for sale. Most of the information is presented in video format in Shopflick’s own buyer-friendly player that features a big “Buy Now” button. Shoppers can add comments to each item, share them, bookmark them as a favorite, or embed them elsewhere on the Web. We have 2,000 invites for TechCrunch readers (sign up here—the first 500 will be let in immediately and the rest over the next few weeks).

So far the startup has raised $1 million from angel investors in LA. But Shopflick has a heavy-hitter CEO in David Grant, the founder and former president of Fox TV Studios. Says Grant:

I think it can be an enormous business. Video selling is what television is. TV Commercials. People have tried to replicate video selling on television, which is a mistake.

The front page of Shopflick features a big video player that scrolls through featured items and could also become a prime advertising spot. Just like on TV, Shopflick plans on using its front page to promote items based on limited quantities or time. Shoppers can also browse by category, keyword, or tag. Most of the sellers—there are about 50 of them in the beta right now—are boutique shopkeepers, jewelery makers, or furniture designers from Brooklyn or LA.

Here is an example of a video by Uhuru, a Brooklyn furniture design company that uses sustainable materials:

Shopflick: Buy this product | Get your own Store Player

The site feels a little bit like what Etsy would be if it had video, except its sellers don’t focus on handmade goods. There is definitely an independent vibe. The site is geared towards women. It is heavy on hand creams, lingerie and kid’s clothes. But not the 50-year-old women in middle America who tend to watch the Home Shopping Network or QVC. Shopflick is going more for the hip 18-to-34-year-olds who live in big cities. Founder and president Patrick Yee says:

It is an $8 billion business on cable, but we are moving it from a linear model to an on-demand model, from a warehouse-QVC model to an on-demand user-generated model.

Shopflick does not hold any inventory. Like eBay, it just matches buyers and sellers, and collects listing and transaction fees. The first six months it will waive listing fees, but it plans to charge $10 to $20 a month, depending on the size of the store. Its transaction fees are a steep 12.5 percent, which is much higher than Amazon’s 7 percent or eBay’s 10 percent, but Amazon and eBay both charge a lot more in monthly fees. eBay charges as much as $300 a month for power sellers. Says Yee:

Ebay's model is they are trying to take two thirds of the lifetime value up front,” says Yee. “We are flipping that. We lower the barriers to listing because we believe video will convert. We know video sells because it has been happening for 30 years.

On Shopflick, the sellers deal with inventory and shipping, and hope that the viral nature of video will help market their products. Shoppers are encouraged to recommend their favorite products, create collections of their favorite products, and even create their own videos. It is what Yee calls “user-generated merchandising.” To help sellers create the best videos, there is also a marketplace for videographers on Shopflick to help match sellers with video professionals. In this regard, it competes with TurnHere, but it doesn’t mark up the videographers’ fees.

Could this be where e-commerce is headed? Barry Diller, watch out.


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Video: Sony's TG1 / TG3E 1080i -- world's smallest camcorder unboxed, previewed


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Whether you call it the HDR-TG3E (as it's known in Europe) or the HDR-TG1 (as it's been dubbed everywhere else), it's still the world's smallest 1080i camcorder. Tracy and Matt got their hands on an early unit for all your unboxing and first-impression pleasures. They're already "very impressed" with the "fabulous" image quality when viewed on their 50-inch plasma. Don't let the Queen's English and SCART adapter fool you, this is pretty much exactly what you can expect to land Stateside next month. Click through for the moving pictures then hit up that read link for a more detailed analysis -- looks like Sony's got themselves a winner.


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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Kohijinsha SR8KPO6S is 7-Inch UMPC With Optical Drive [UMPCs]


Kohjinsha-SR8KPO6S-01.jpgThe Kohijinsha SR8KPO6S fits a DVD burner into its tiny, 9.2 x 7 x 1.3 inch chassis. As if that were not enough to stick it in the Eee's face, the 7-inch (1024 x 600) display also boasts touchscreen functionality, an 800Mhz CPU, 60GB HDD, Wi-Fi g support and weighs in at 2.4lbs.

The battery will supposedly last somewhere north of three hours, but we wouldn't be so sure of the claim. The UMPC runs Vista, and also has tablet PC mode support. Still, a comparison to the Eee is probably a little unfair considering the Kohijinsha surely costs a fair bit more, even if we have no word on pricing as yet. [Ubergizmo]


Pocket Projector Shares Pocket Media [Gadgets]


For those who are always looking for the most technologically advanced ways to make others fawn over their children, this mini projector may be just small enough to fit in a large pocket or small purse. Running on AA batteries and displaying all of your SD card-based media (unfortunately there's no codec list), we wouldn't recommend it for a home cinema projector, but it looks like a pretty fun novelty for $200. [product via shinyshiny]


Your Stolen Data Is Worth Nothing [Crazy Deals]


According to the bi-annual Internet Security Threat Report from Symantec (.pdf), identity thieves aren't getting nearly as rich off of your stolen or "misplaced" data as they used to. As the AP reports, the sheer glut of personal information being pilfered these days, combined with a falling U.S. dollar and fierce competition among identity hawkers, has driven the prices for such stolen data down to "bargain-basement levels."

Researchers say that internet fraudsters are therefore doing what any self-respecting salesman would do: offering volume discounts. Currently, some stolen credit-card numbers are begin sold in batches of 500 for as low as $200. That's 40 cents for each number, less than half the price observed during the first half of 2007, according to the report.

What's more, "full identity" packages, which include a working credit card number, a Social Security number and a person's name, address and DOB, are going for as little as $100 for 50, or $2 apiece. Now that's a bargain.

Because of the falling U.S. dollar, and (I'm guessing) a population racked with debt, European identities also tend to be worth a lot more than the American equivalent.

[AP via Techdirt] Photo: Flickr/y_ordan


Your Computer Sucks, Get a New Graphics Card [PCs]


Your PC? It sucks, it doesn't have enough cores. Sure, you could get a new multi-core processor like a Phenom or Core 2 Quad, adding like 2 or 3 cores to your rig. Or! You could get a new graphics card instead and get over one hundred extra cores. And more cores = more better, right?

Actually, even though Nvidia's argument seems slightly retarded and self-serving, it has a bit of merit—as you go up in CPU price ranges, the price to performance ratio drops pretty steadily. And if you're running Windows Vista, you actually need a solid graphics card to run it without any hitches, even if you're not gaming. So instead of plowing an extra $100 into a slightly faster processor that'll net you minimal performance gains, you'd get more out of it investing in a better graphics card. [Nvidia via Pop Sci]


There's No Place Like Home, Even If It's Upside-Down Or Suspended in Mid-Air [Houses]


PointClickHome took a look at 15 incredible houses that defy physics, conventional design, and every zoning law imaginable. We were most fond of this upside-down house from Poland—the builder's statement against Communism, apparently—as well as a house that turns towards the sun in winter and away during the summer and the Ukrainian "Floating Castle" that looks like it's supported by four toothpicks. See our most gadgetastic favorites in the gallery, then go to PCH for the full roundup. [PointClickHome via Curbly]


Three Giant Wind Turbines Turned On at Once at Bahrain World Trade Center [Environment]


What you're looking at isn't a render or merely a concept of some fanciful building that'll never actually become a reality. No, what you're looking at is an actually photograph of the new Bahrain World Trade Center, a pair of pointy skyscrapers with three propellers with 95 foot diameters between them. And this week, they activated all three turbines at the same time. Now that they're all running, they'll be providing 10-15% of the energy for both towers, which will save loads of money over the years.