A new Twitter-like microblogging service has launched with 100 users, based on the premise that people will want to publish details of the purchases they make with their credit cards, according to reports.
The service, Blippy.com, is designed to answer the question, "What are your friends buying?" according to its Web site. Users can register a credit card and transactions with that card are automatically pushed out to the user's followers, including not only the user's name, the amount spent and the merchant, according to the TechCrunch blog, which reported the launch last week, but also the individual items purchased — at least with participating merchants, such as iTunes, Amazon.com and Zappos.
Philip Kaplan, one of the co-founders of the San Francisco start-up Blipify Inc., told The New York Times in an interview published Thursday that the service could do more than just allow users to embarrass themselves by exposing inappropriate purchases — it could also highlight the disparate prices that different people pay for haircuts, gym memberships or cable-television service.
Kaplan joined the start-up from the venture-capital firm Charles River Ventures, where he had served as an "entrepreneur in residence." He has been involved in a variety of online ventures, including the Internet advertising agency AdBright.
Kaplan first came to prominence in the days of the dot-com bust, chronicling the demise of online start-ups at a Web site with an obscene name that was a play on the business magazine Fast Company.
Neither Blipify nor Charles River Ventures responded to requests for comment.