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IDEA #62 – Reincarnate Yub.com, but on Facebook

Yub logoYou may not remember Yub, but Yub could have taken off like MySpace — it was an early Friendster competitor as well. They focused on shopping, MySpace focused on Music — and the Music focus won the battle. Yub is owned by Buy.com [get it, “buy” spelled backwards].

Anyhow, I still like the idea. It’s a social network around shopping — and they reward you with cashback for shopping through them. Basically, Yub is tied into Linkshare, which is an affiliate network aggregator/provider — they have relationships with top online merchants and manage the affiliate marketing back-end (payments, tracking) for those merchants. Yub gets paid a commission on every sale that a user makes through their links, but Yub splits up that commission back to themselves and with the user (so that both make money).

So Yub is dead — I mean, it exists, but there hasn’t been activity in forever now. What did they lack? The people for the social network. What does Facebook have? The people.

I say recreate this site as a Facebook app. Get an account with Linkshare (spend the $250 for the account with product data feeds via FTP — I don’t think they publicly promote this account on their website, but it does exist). In the Linkshare code, I believe there must be an ID that you are able to use (I believe with Commission Junction, this parameter is ‘sID=’). And so you use this ‘sID’ to track each user — if they make a purchase, then you can cut them in on a piece of the commission you earn.

User-gen content is the best for products — so I’d reward users to do text, audio, and video reviews of products they already own. Can’t you see your Facebook newsreel already? … “Steve Poland just raved about Transformers – Soundtrack album.” … or … “Steve Poland just ranted about Apple 80 GB iPod AAC/MP3 Video Player Black (5.5 Generation).” … or … “Steve Poland claims to own Jerry Maguire DVD.”

Give the ability to share or recommend items with friends – “Steve Poland just recommended Bruce Springsteen – Born To Run album to Jennifer Smith.”

You don’t have to limit to just using Linkshare partners — use partners of Google-owned Doubleclick-owned Performics, Commission Junction, and Shareasale. Also, the big etailers that have their own affiliate programs in-house, such as Amazon.com and eBay. And you want to be sure to get product data feeds from the etailers (if/where you can) — because then you can get their entire product catalogs (via XML/TXT with links to product images).

Then you need some mad database skill to store all of these products — much like how the price comparison engines work (like eBay’s DealTime.com or Shopzilla).

“Earn money to shop, review, or recommend!”

Has someone already done this on Facebook? Nathan said there’s an Amazon.com virtual bookshelf facebook app (using affil links). What about a wishlist app? With ability for users to see each other’s wishlists and order them something for their birthday/holiday.

Example screenshot below when buying an iTunes track (which Yub gives 2% — $0.02 per track — I believe Linkshare gives 5%). Notice they give you ‘Yub points’, not cash back. You must get 10 Yub points ($10), before you can get cash back (via PayPal) — mass payments via PayPal is possible; AuctionAds does it.

(click image to see full thing)