Wednesday, March 4, 2009

SendSocial - The plan and the free shares!

Okay so if you check out the post here you will see a lot more detail on the idea and how the thing actually operates and the security aspects.


So first of all what is SendSocial?

Send social is a way to send real physical items to people with virtual identities without the recipient having to disclose their physical address.


But surely people will send weird stuff to people they are obsessed with?

The service work in a way that this could not happen, either the recipient has to know you, or if they do not the package is checked before being forwarded onto the recipient.


But I don’t want to be sent something from somebody I don’t know?

To receive something both parties have to agree before the item is sent, its a bit like an escrow account for physical items.


Wait I have heard of things like this, is this not just a twitter givereal?

No, it will incorporate aspects of givereal, but with givereal you have to choose from their gifts, with send social you can go out and buy the gift if you want, or if retailers want to join in you can send from their selection of products.


Who would use this service?

Lets look at some scenarios:

1) Its valentines you fancy somebody on twit or fit, you go out you buy them chocolates, you send them anonymously using sendsocial, the important thing here is that if something is sent anonymously it is opened and checked by sendsocial, and remember we know who the sender is because we take thier credit card details, and the recipient has actually made the choice to accept the package.

2) You love @wossy and have had some interaction with him and you buy him a small meaningful gift to do with your twitter conversation, this time @wossy can see who you are and decide to accept or decline the gift based on what he knows about you, he can also pay a little bit extra if he wants it checked before it gets there.

3) You are a product manufacturer and want to get your product to guru @Scobleizer again you send the package and @Scobleizer knows who you are so accepts it.


What sites will this work for?

Well we will have to build a small simple automated system for each site but initially it would be very easy to build it for FaceBook, Twitter and Email Addresses


But how would it work, I don’t want to disclose my address?

Thats the whole point of the service! So looking at scenario number one this is how it would work:

Okay so user @inloveboy wants to send chocolates to @sheissosexy


1) @inloveboy comes to the site and decides that none of the items from our approved suppliers match what he wants to send this girl.

2) @inloveboy signs up pays the fee, chooses send anonymously, enters @shesosexy username

3) @shesosexy gets a tweet saying that she has received a gift and to follow @sendsocial

4) @shesosexy follows @sendsocial

5) @shesosexy gets a DM with a unique code and our website

6) @shesosexy goes to our website can see the details of the package and can accept or decline

7) @shesosexy accepts and enters her address

8) @inloveboy recives an email with instructions to send the item to @sendsocial shipping address

9) @inloveboy sends item

10) @sendsocial receives package, checks its contents, then we put @shesosexy address on it and send it FEDEX.

11) @shesosexy recives package and it brings a big smile to her face, after suspecting that it was @inloveboy that sent it, she asks him, he confesses, she has really really hot sex with him and they get married and live happily ever after.


What countries will it work in:

Well I can provide shipping addresses and infrastructure in the UK and the US but open to ideas if anybody wants a franchise in another country.


What's all this I hear about free shares?

Right well I have about a million ideas a year, most of them are shite, and a few are fucking amazing, I use my network as a sounding board, those who give me good feedback I usually give shares too in the company they helped. So seeing as this is a twitter idea I thought I would ask the Twitter community for feedback to see if it is what the community wants, and because that feedback is valuable and does not waste my money if it is a shit idea I am prepared to give up 10% pool of the shares in the company to anybody who either gets this message out there by RT this message:




Please please try and send this more than once, remember having already done this you have a personal stake in the future of the company so the more people you can get to RT the more chance of us actually doing this business.


Okay whats the catch? Well there are no catches but the following rules apply:


1) Firstly this is just a concept it may never reach the light of day, for any reason should we not do SendSocial you have no rights to refunds, compensation; you agree that there is no liability on our part whatsoever.

2) This is going to have be partly done on trust, trying to come up with rights, shareholders agreements articles of association at this stage is impossible, we don’t even know if it will be a US or UK company. So until we know exactly what the structure is and we have worked out the issues then you are just going to have to trust me on this; oh yeah I hear you say that sounds like a scam, all I can say is that I have been in business for 15 years I have never fucked anybody over and a lot of the people who are retweeting the message are my friends; can you imagine the damage I would do myself and the business if I don’t not hold true to my word? The way I look at it is like this; should we become successful and we sell the company for a $20m I would make sure that the  $2m is split between the people that got the message out in the first place, we may not even issues shares until we sell the company for tax reasons. The bottom line will be if it is a success and we sell you will get a cheque!

3) We take no responsibility for any tax or legal issues that may arise from acquiring these shares.

4) Duration initially we will be doing this for 7 days 05 March 2009, but may extend depending on success, please check back.

5) Tracking I am going to track it from my@ replies however if you want to double make sure you are on the list send your details to

6)Again I just want to reiterate myself or sendsocial or any connected companies don't take any responsibity or liability for anything(okay its direct but its better than having pages of T&C that you cant fucking understand anyway)

7) By RT the message above you agree to be bound by these terms and conditions.

8) 10% of the value of the company will be put into the pot not more not less.

9) That pot will be divided by the number of users(not the number of times you retweet) who retweet the message above.

10) These terms are subject to change, modification, adaption without permission.

11) Because of investment the share pool may get dilluted but I will always try and protect these shares and try and leave them as undillutable, but this may mean we cannot aquirer further investment in the future; at some point we may have to dilute the share pool but only if the belief is that the share pool becomes more valuble because of it(i.e. it is better to have a small part of a much bigger pie)


Management Team, Investment, and tech stuff

So do I want to run this, no fucking way I have enough companies to run without another one to add to the list!

So I am prepared to give up more of the company to the management team, any investors and anybody who can build the technology. I try and end up with about 30% of a company by the time it launches so there is a good 60%(remembering the 10% above) to split.

I will provide infrastructure, two distribution locations(UK and US) and seed investment, but it would be nice for somebody to come in and match my investment or invest further.

If you know anybody who would be good for the management team  or think you would please contact me at

You know me always open to suggestions.

Im sure I have left out stuff, please comment below and I will try my best to modify, this is a moving target as business always is.....


@simonlhill made a great point and I cant believe I did not see it myself, which is that if we provide a unique code that the shipping partner has access to(or even use their internal tracking code) through their systems a package could be shipped to an address by using this unique code without it being disclosed to the sender and without shipping having to be paid twice. THIS WOULD ONLY WORK FOR NON-ANNOMYNOUS PACKAGES - ANNOMYNOUS WOULD STILL NEED TO BE OPENED AT THE SENDSOCIAL SHIPPING ADDRESS


If you have protected updates you MUST email as I cannot see your RT in a public search!!!!


Greg Bolshaw said...


Slight problem with the syntax of your retweet above:


This will reply to you, with the reply only being visible to users who are also following you.

I think what you meant is:


This will be visible to all of a user's followers.

You can see that a few people have already mistweeted(!) this:


Ben Way - Inventorpreneur said...

Thanks have modified accordingly

Anonymous said...

Just a question....... why are you appealing for management teams and investment and tech?

Your company the Rainmakers supposedly provides that service....

hire yourself to find those things!

Ben Way - Inventorpreneur said...

Great question!

Well because first those things take up a huge amount of time, and second I would prefer to find people who are already sold on the idea....
Also we are over capacity anyway we have 23 different companies currently and I am in the process of starting another 3 I do not have time to set up another!

Anonymous said...

Btw..... think I just found a pretty big hurdle if the system was set up.......

If someone from the US sends an item to someone in the UK.... they would have to address it to you first.

Sendsocial would have to pay for the Import Duty & VAT on all items that it receives. And its not possible for you to pass that cost onto the recipient.

Therefore to get over this charge.... overseas users would have to spend cash on the item, international delivery, repackaging costs, domestic delivery and then be hit with a further invoice for VAT receipts.

So you would have a load of cash to call up from every gift you receive.

Ben Way - Inventorpreneur said...

Yes international gifts would not be accepted on day one but I think we could sort it out over time....
It maybe for international gifts we take a $100 deposit from the sender to cover those costs, there are always ways around these things...

Anonymous said...

Also, you mentioned it could be used for valentines day.

I guess as a stereotype the common gifts on valentines day are mostly cards, chocolates and flowers.

Flowers cannot be sent using this system as they will die or get damaged. Florists themselves generally provide anonymous delivery services providing you know the address. You don't generally get flowers posted by royal mail.

Chocolates is doable I guess....... but they are food and there can be problems with importing food across borders. Customs is a bastard is some places.

Cards are easy.... except they're private..... and you say you would have to open and verify that items aren't malicious etc...... that knocks that privacy right out.

Essentially the main items that people may want to send if this system existed.... cannot actually be sent.

I know I'm picking holes in it....but you did ask!

Ben Way - Inventorpreneur said...

Oh no pick away! - Okay so you have to know the address to send flowers via a florist, but for example we could integrate with a florist through our API
The key to this system is the ability to send gifts to an online identity without knowing the physical cant send anything above without knowing the address....thats the key

Anonymous said...

And I wouldn't offer the 10% share thing until you've sorted it out.......

It would be embarrassingly bad PR for the Rainmakers Ltd if you came up with an idea, publicised it and then couldn't feasibly do it or nurture it to fruition.

Ben Way - Inventorpreneur said...

Oh no that's the wonder of the life we lead and the internet and collaboration, if it fails or succeeds it does not matter, I have nothing to prove any more, I have been doing this for years years, I have had great success and great failures if the media want to play with this story let them; the Rainmakers is great at what it does; but we always have failures that is just the nature of the beast; if I was always worried about what other people were going to make of things I would never start anything!

Anonymous said...

Yeah I guess its upto you...

Anonymous said...

Love the idea. People always pick at ideas sometimes tbh it seems out of jealously. Although, I have used a florist (in Leeds I think it was), that did provide an anonymous service- think they did chocolates as well.

Not everyone will know of these services. Also, not everyone wants to send chocolates/ flowers either- maybe there is another niche market which you haven't listed above, for unique gifts which could some how relate to the personality of the sender. This would give the recipient the chance to guess who it is from, making it a little bit more fun.

Anonymous said...

Honestly the whole thing seems unnecessary.... here is what should happen.

Twitter itself sets up deals with many online retailers.... Amazon, Play etc

Then Amazon, Play etc add a new feature to their anonymous gift section. They allow you to send a gift to an email or a blogger name or twitter user.

You pay for the gift (with pending payment) that you have chosen from Amazon and then amazon send a message to your recipient. The recipient then gives their address to amazon.

The gift is sent anonymously.

This negates any need for a middle man, means only postage is paid for once, no vat etc due, privacy and efficiency and its cheaper. Also, you can return gifts to the retailer.

Twitter itself can take a cut of the sale by providing the customer, and can itself start to make money from this.

There is no need for a middle man. Twitter give me money!!!!

MASP said...

i left the above comment as well.

the service could be aimed at friends to send gifts to each other as well- sort of like a practical joke/ game for cheaper gifts. This might work well with office staff?

MASP said...

the anonymous comment. not the highly critical one

Ben Way - Inventorpreneur said...

Thanks MASP, both great ideas...

Anonymous said...

What P says makes sense. SendSocial would be unnecessary if Amazon, Play etc. took action and implemented this feature. They have the products, logistics etc. BUT since they don't have figured this out yet (though we don't know what they're working on) someone else has to take the first steps.

One thing I think such a service should have is a huge selection of products to choose from.
I think I would use the service if I could go to a homepage, type in a @twittername, choose a product (books, cds, magazines etc. things you give your friends) and pay immediately.

If I had to go out and buy a product because it wasn't represented at SendSocial, pack it, send it and pay... the process would simply become too complicated in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Ultimately... if amazon, play etc did it...

Amazon would obviously receive cash.... but twitter itself could take a snip of it by providing the customer.

Also, twitter as part of the deal could then advertise that a transaction has taken place through twitter.

i.e @girlygirl33 has just accepted an anonymous gift on

or @girlgirl33 has just accepted an gift from @guy88 on

That's a better version of facebook's beacon thing because its both personal and public.

Anonymous said...

looks like P is now bxbx23

Ben Way - Inventorpreneur said...

Personally I think their is room for both models and seeing as the running costs would be so low why not try both....
It would be great to multiple partners on board and twitter....but lets just move forward on the basis that those deals will come and we dont need them to be a viable business.
Also in terms of companies copying or doing it themselves the one thing I have learnt about big companies is that generally they move very slowly and then aquirer than try and rebuild the wheel

Anonymous said...

Lol, they wouldn't acquire anything. All they need is a few lines of code. They could have it up and running in a few days with very little effort.

Another thing.... I remember reading somewhere that you wanted to promote green businesses Ben...

Your system would effectively double the carbon footprint of every item sent!

Its a huge waste of paper/packaging, with extended truck journeys. A lot of big companies are jumping on the green bandwagon, so I can't see any significant retailers or brands wanting to be associated with this.

Ben Way - Inventorpreneur said...

Good points anonymous but I have to disagree with you, I know how much programming is involved I am technical remember, that is not the point really when it comes to business, I could reproduce twitter in a week, it is very simple, but that does not mean there is no value in its brand following or community. If this becomes a success and people use sendsocial as the way to send real gifts to virtual people then it will acquire a huge amount of value. Actually the best ideas in the world normally are the most simple!

As for the environmental issues I have already been thinking about this, I am what you may call a realistic environmentalist which means that yes I have a great passion to save the environment but I also concede that there are limits on what you can achieve.
Firstly the carbon footprint would only be doubled for anonymous packages, however we maybe able to offset this additional carbon through a carbon offset program. But I will keep an active eye on this aspect of the business.

Tom Beckenham said...

I like the idea. I think people are getting caught up in the technicality and logistics. There's worth just in linking physical addresses to social ones anonymously. e.g. You could use it to send direct mail to everyone in a Facebook group. You could even hook it up to ViaPost.

I'm in. I'll re-tweet.

Anonymous said...

You can already send packages to other people through Amazon, Play, HMV and most online retailers as gifts.

All they have to do is add a tick box for sender anonymity. Amazon then sends a request to the target's email/twitter and they provide their details to the merchant and receive their item.

Its much easier and more efficient than send social.

Ben Way - Inventorpreneur said...

This is always the main reason people never start companies, because they think big companies could replicate it so fast.
There are probably a million ideas that a million big e-retailers could easily implement but don't.
Trust me big companies worry far more on getting an extra 0.001% conversion rate by moving a button than they do about implementing new ideas....
So yes at some point we would attract the interest of somebody like Amazon but by that time they would likely decide it would be better to partner with us than try and rebuild the wheel.

Anonymous said...

You are really missing the point Ben.

Everything you propose to set up already exists.......Mail Handling, packaging, forwarding, inventory, branding, absolutely everything is covered by someone like Amazon.

The only novel part is the hidden delivery address. And that would be the equivalent of ticking a box on the screen.

It's not like inventing the wheel.

Ben Way - Inventorpreneur said...

Thats great I heard about this great idea, they had the internet, chat software, SMS, social networks.....

Shame twitter never happened.....

I am not missing your point, your missing mine, just because the ingredients exist does not mean amazon will bake the cake....

Anonymous said...

They've already baked the cake, all they need to do is put a tiny cherry on top...

Ben Way - Inventorpreneur said...

Personally I disagree, but I do appreciate the debate!

MASP said...

Alike my office suggestion, maybe you could suggest on the site/ service that they send something small and semimetal rather than something new. By semimetal, I don’t mean expensive, most probably an item that is quite cheap but something that actually means something emotionally to the sender. – this could help create a lovemark brand ??? which could be useful for marketing ??? also help to distance yourself even further away from parcelpoke etc as well. Obviously they could send new stuff as well.

Rather than send you a direct email. Maybe a discussion forum for ideas could work well on smarta? Think you are involved with that? Just like this blog. Lots of people surely love discussing ideas – I can’t really find a place where you can describe an idea, and then allow people who you specify/ allow to contribute and make suggestions.

Simon Hill said...

Anonymous, I think you're wrong. Yes, the original concept has logistical flaws that need ironing out, but the suggestion that Amazon, etc will copy the idea and make the business non-viable is naive.

Firstly, Amazon, Play, etc have a core business model. There are a trillion things they *could* bolt on with a day of dev work, but they never will. And even if they did, it wouldn't matter, because this is a niche market. SocialSend's brand would be synonymous with secret admirers and so people would still go there before thinking of Amazon.

In fact, I think this would be an opportunity to put an offering/API together and go to all the big players and pitch that you'd do the whole anonymous thing for them. You'd be taking an affiliate fee as well then = more revenue. Then SocialSend becomes a SINGLE destination where people can anonymously send stuff from all subscribed suppliers, as well as directly from their home to the recipient.

Anonymous said...

i think its a good idea, providing privacy concerns are met

Adam Arnold said...

Your idea of giving away 10% verges on genius. People love the thought that they can get something for nothing and it shows with so many people frantically spreading the word on twitter - how I found your site.

Unfortunately, I think the concept has some serious issues which need thought before charging ahead.

Some quick comments in passing:

- your client list will contain at least 90% stalkers; and

- holding credit card information means absolutely nothing in terms of security (stolen cards etc).

Why don't you just build an application which integrates into twitter/facebook (iPhone?) etc which lets the stalker choose from a lift of items to send from Amazon, and so on.

Once the item has been chosen, your application automates a response from the stockist. The recipient then gets an e-mail, directly from the stockist, stating they have a gift. If they choose to disclose their address then the gift is dispatched, the stalker is charged and you take a cut.

As the e-mails will be coming directly from reputable suppliers there should be no risk involved. There's also no need to send ANYTHING twice so you can maintain your green image.

If I received an e-mail from a company I had never heard of asking me for money to "verify the gift" .... can you imagine my response? :0)

Good luck with it.

Anonymous said...

This post started it all, and 9 months later and we're live with SendSocial; it's been a fantastic journey :)