Review 9 – Bitfortip

Bitfortip

Bitfortip is a very interesting idea. It’s not really shopping, exactly. It’s more like asking for shopping advice or having someone do the legwork while shopping for you so you can go straight to the buying part. The idea is based on the concept that, no matter how good you are at something, there’s always someone better. People are always running across a good deal or stumbling on random information. This site tries to bring those lucky people together with people looking for something specific.

After logging into the site I was greeted by the fact that I had a Bitcoin wallet to be used with the site and it already had funds in it. I’m not certain if this was some sort of promo for new accounts or a mistake, but hey… free bits. Digging through the old questions posted on the site, I’m guessing it was a promo. This site looks like it’s been trying hard to drum up traffic. I can’t imagine why it would need to. The concept is brilliant, in my opinion, minus a couple flaws that I will discuss later.

There aren’t many current questions posted, which makes it not so fun right now, but I can immediately see how this service could really take off. I opened one of the questions asking for the cheapest price on a certain gaming mouse. I immediately began scouring every site I knew looking for the best deal for this mouse within the parameters set by the person that asked the question. I completely forgot that I was writing a review until 30 minutes into shopping for this mouse. I was simply going fast and furious trying to earn that reward.

But there was also a much more obscure question posted by a user looking for a specific LP from a specific band, but he wanted the first press vinyl from the 70’s and under a certain cost. It doesn’t get much more specific than that. I can imagine that questions could get very vague and need someone with a lot of expertise in a certain area. This might make rewards much more valuable in certain instances. I could also see a bartering system open up where a user says they know an answer but the current reward is too low.

Unfortunately all the questions that I felt I could answer had already been provided the same answer I would have given, sometimes 20 times over. But, again, this is simply due to the number of people using the service. I highly recommend that, if you’re looking for something obscure, hard to find, or on a budget, consider using this service to contract a workforce to help you find it.

There are a few things about the site that make me nervous. First off, they don’t use a security certificate or two-factor authentication. Any site that holds funds must have proper security. So, for the time being, I wouldn’t store much in Bitcoin there.

I also had problems with how the reward apparently works. In the FAQ it states that if two people give the same correct answer the first one who replied should get it, but Bitfortip is not responsible for making sure this happens. So what is stopping a user that offers a huge tip for information creating a throwaway account to answer the question with the information provided by another user so they can reward themselves with the tip? Why couldn’t friends collude to get answers? One friend could pose the question and then wait for answers. Another friend could provide the same answer from another user and the person that asked the question could choose the friend to receive the reward. Without some kind of policing here, collusion becomes too easy.

And, since the answers are shown live, how do you facilitate someone getting the reward if the person that asks the question uses the advice provided and never rewards the person who provided the answer? If I can see that NameCheap.com is the cheapest, best domain hosting around, as evidenced by 20 answers in this question, what’s stopping me from seeing that answer and just using the information without rewarding the person that provided the answer?

Is there any type of close date on the questions? I saw one question open since July 2015 with 139 answers. Isn’t one of those going to receive the reward? Is it possible that the person that asked the question got his answer and just abandoned the site leaving the 0.00037004 BTC reward sitting in escrow? After all, at today’s prices, that’s only $0.14 USD. But shouldn’t someone in that 139 get that reward? They’ve done the legwork.

Update: The founder of BitForTip contacted me to let me know they now have an Android app. This will allow people to post searches and answers on the go. This is an excellent development.

I downloaded and installed the app.

Login was simple.

It’s easy to navigate.

And it’s easy to post questions.

This app definitely adds to the potential of this site. Give it a look!

I think the developers of this service have a great concept here and have the ability to make it work well. It’s like a Wikianswers, but with rewards. If they address the issues I’ve listed above they would be well on their way to success. However, I would also make the following suggestions based on my own experience:

My immediate idea was to gamify the site. Turn it into an RPG with people that ask questions becoming quest givers, questions becoming quests, and rewards earning points to be spent on the site as well. Users could then spend their points to buy rewards with their earnings like discount XBoxes or Gyft cards. Or maybe have the BTC earned count as XP on the site for game purposes, possibly buy power ups, or something.

Advertise this service. Don’t just give people bits to try it out. Start an ad campaign. Perhaps even an affiliate program to bring in new users. There’s no better advertising than word of mouth. People earn trust and trust goes a long way. So the people that trust each other tend to sign up to the same things each other endorse. Why not reward that endorsement?

Make people that provide answers provide URL links. Scan previous answers to deny links to the same place. This will weed out duplicate answers a bit. Also, maybe allow people that ask questions to thumbs up or down quality links versus spam garbage. Users that get reported as spam too often could be ignored or shadowbanned. This would weed out low quality replies.

They could also archive past answers and make that archive searchable. When someone goes to the site to ask a question allow them to see if it’s already been answered. But then allow them to either ask the question again and offer a reward or offer to match the original reward and send it to the person who answered the question the first time, allowing that user to collect on it like they’d answered it again. This allows people who answer questions to build passive income.

Also, I would consider categories. If this site does go big, they’re going to want people to ask in different sections, not scan through a giant list of current questions. They’d also get people hanging out in specific sections looking for questions they can answer in their arena of expertise. It would help facilitate response time.

As I said, I really like the service and may soon post a question of my own. Give it a shot, if you’re looking for something.

Posted in Reviews, Shopping, With BTC

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