Need to Send a Gift But Don't Know the Address? Karma App Can Help
A new app called Karma lets you instantly send gifts to friends, even if you don't know their physical address.
A service for “in-the-moment gifting,” Karma lets you send everything from a bottle of wine to a fuzzy teddy bear to friends via SMS, email, and Facebook. Once the recipient gets the message, she can specify which address she wants it shipped to.
The Karma app works as a virtual storefront of sorts. Karma has partnered with Hulu, Gund, MoMa and Spotify and offers gifts appropriate for people of all age groups. Once you select a gift you are taken a page to select an appropriate card to go along with it, and then enter in contact information for your recipient.
Gifts can be sent in the form of an email, a Facebook wall post, or an SMS.
While sending a real-word gift via text message may seem a bit odd, Karma CEO Lee Linden told Mashable that the majority of gifts being sent from the service are actually coming from SMS messages.
“The average response rate for an SMS gift is less than 60 seconds," says Linden. "Email is four to five hours. On Facebook, it's a day."
Karma has built-in Facebook integration for giving to your friends on the service, and keeps up with important details in your Facebook friend's lives for when gift-giving opportunities arise.
There's a section within the app that lists birthdays of your friends, and also sections for celebrations and "tough days" that pays attention to the words being used on your friend's walls and let you know when someone is being congratulated for something, or might need a pick-me-up.
A new jobs section lets you know when your friends pick up a new gig, and the Events section lists Facebook events you're going to that you might want or need a gift for.
There are also provisions if the recipient doesn't like the gift. If you decided to buy a Hulu Plus subscription, and the recipient wasn't interested it, she could exchange it for a remote-controlled helicopter or a Netflix subscription on Karma's site. If your friend isn't interested in gifts at all, then she can also opt to give the value of the gift to charity as well.
Since your friend is the one inputting her address she can have a gift sent anywhere they want, and also to an address you might not know. For instance, a guy who's only been on a few dates with a girl can send her a box of chocolates by just knowing her number. You could also send a credit for a ride around the city to a college friend who's visiting New York City for the first time on Facebook by just commenting on his or her Wall.
Gifts can be tracked from the moment a message is sent to when the gift arrives on the recipient's doorstep, so you can know where it is every step of the way. Karma says most gifts arrive within three days, and digital gifts are delivered within minutes.
Gift messages can also be re-sent from within the app if your friend seems to have not responded to your first offering, and can be cancelled if you decide you'd rather hand your friend a gift the old-fashioned way.
Karma is available now for iOS and Android.
Is an app that watches your friends' Facebook walls for keywords like "congratulations" or "sorry" too creepy? Let us know how you feel in the comments.
This Is Facebook's Secret Weapon For Making A Lot More Money
By Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
While the world was focused on Facebook's stock trading for the first time on public markets, the company quietly announced the acquisition of Karma, a social gift giving mobile application.
Karma, with just 16 employees, appeared to be another one of Facebook's talent grabs.
Karma was Facebook's second biggest acquisition, going for a reported $80 million. It will be Facebook's attempt to tackle the potentially lucrative market of social commerce.
Karma imports Facebook data about your friends. It then suggests gifts for those friends based on Facebook postings. It's still in the early stages, but the potential for this application is huge. This could be a truly social e-commerce experience, posing a threat to Amazon, which dominates online retail.
Considering that Facebook's ad business has not exactly blown the doors off, it's smart to find new streams of revenue.
Karma is just starting, but it has a lot of promise. We've played with the app for a little bit and we were impressed. We think you will be too.