I had been dreamscaping a self-expression platform recently when a friend sent me a link to the techcrunch article about the debut of Lockerz as aPinterest-like self-expression machine that pays. In fact their trademarked subtitle is “A social life that pays.” As I signed up I thought well, someone has finally figured out how to reward the detail-oriented, aesthete-loving user for curating value that generates a steady following and steady affiliate revenue for the site owners. But when I played around on Lockerz, which has been designed for the high school crowd, I feel that there is some way to go before the perfect user-rewarding platform comes into being. After all, calling a site a self-expression platform when at the end of the day is really only a labor-intensive discount e-commerce site in which you still pay money to buy stuff – well that’s a little rich.
1. Earning points (PTZ) for posting pics, liking pics, following and reposting and pinning is fine. But only being able to redeem them at the Lockerz store with select merchandise – hmm, starting to feel a bit like redeeming credit card points at the credit card online store – stuffed Hawaiian Airlines bear, anyone? Didn’t think so.
2. I like what they’re going for – rewarding the serious user with points that can be redeemed for…stuff. Stuff, that in the end isn’t free, but still costs that serious user money, well that isn’t a reward. A real reward in lieu of actual cash (hey, they’re doing all your affiliate work for you, you could consider throwing them a bone (you too, Polyvore)) could be things like donating to the nonprofit of the user’s choice (allow user to be a social entrepreneur of sorts), actual free items (I’d say free shipping too), or some other form of social currency that could be used at participating retailers, not just the Lockerz store. Two sites currently rewarding social currency are Peer Perks (part ofPeer Index) and Klout.
3. Social Currency – just the name has a powerful ring to it. It means many things in today’s landscape but what is the best meaning for it? Is it social good, social capital, social circle sway? I think many platforms are figuring this out right now. As the social user moves more toward interests and self-expression, how does one entice them to stick around and do a thorough job? I am very interested to see where the conversation goes.
4. So many boxes and choices, confusing. What’s Decalz: am I being sold something or am I getting Ptz? (Decalz are photos).
5. A little too coupon-y slash advertorial. “Watch this music video and you get 60 PTZ.” Weirdly makes surfing the web work.
6. This isn’t the biggest deal but the blue and black design only serves to remind me of the redesign effort of Myspace in the slow death of its final days.
I’m excited to see how Lockerz can evolve to offer more than just discount merchandise.