Launched in 2009, the social networking app Foursquare was hailed as providing a cutting-edge approach for users to share their location with friends. Called a “check-in,” people would reveal their location through their mobile device by selecting the venue they were frequenting at that time.
The app grew immensely popular as users around the world accumulated points for spending time at their favorite retailers, restaurants, nightclubs, libraries or other venues. But the excitement around this movement soon abated as users began to realize that there was no utility around the points they had collected.
Now there’s a startup called FlipNpik that’s offering a new approach to this idea. This collaborative social media platform, dedicated to local businesses and connected to blockchain technology, allows users to monetize their social media engagement through a decentralized network where value is created and equitably distributed among FlipNpik’s community.
Major drivers behind the company’s creation were concerns on the part of small- to medium-sized businesses, particularly local ones, regarding the dominance of major advertising players like Facebook offering few promotional options to small enterprises with a limited budget. Predicated on the cultivation of mutually beneficial relationships, FlipNpik provides a robust setting for small businesses and community users to actively engage with one another in productive commerce.
Fostering a Two-Way Partnership
Through the use of FlipNpik’s creatively designed platform, businesses are able to obtain visibility and promotional buzz through the use of tools that allow them to compete with much larger advertising chains that have budgets that give them a major strategic advantage.
Consumers, by way of FlipNpiks’ participatory model, are able to tap into monetary incentives tied to their social media posts that show support for their favorite places. These users can also participate in various other incentive-based activities such as adding new businesses to the app or by becoming an “Ambassador Partner.”
In return for these activities, active users receive Flip Social, a reward system designed to attract and retain users of the platform through various incentives and promotions. Users can either use their Flip Social to get promotions, to play on the app or can convert it into the FlipNpik token. If they wish to have more active roles and serve a specific business, they can also become “Ambassador Partners” and gain 20 percent of the business spending on the app.
FlipNpik’s efforts to promote the democratization, collaboration and fair and equitable sharing of value creation with its community are fueled by “The FlipNpik” (FNP), a utility token, distributed and identified on the blockchain-based financial platform Stellar. Company leaders believe that Stellar is ideal for its project, given the platform’s ability to support high-volume microtransactions cost effectively and at high speeds.
Flipping the Page to the Journey Ahead
FlipNpik, which has operated in Canada since 2016 and in Europe since 2017, has witnessed a steady trajectory in the development of its model. Unlike scores of blockchain projects still in conceptual development, FlipNpik already has a viable product. The FlipNpik mobile app is available on iOS and Android, and its technology has been released in over a half-dozen countries including England, Switzerland, Ireland, France, Canada and Singapore.
While Yelp, Foursquare and social media titans such as Facebook and Instagram continue to be part of the same competitive landscape, FlipNpik is arguably the first platform to remunerate users for their social engagements.
“My main desire is to help small businesses succeed,” CEO Henri Harland said. “Social media has now become almost indispensable for all businesses if they want customers. But while they have to promote themselves and be seen, they often can’t keep up and compete with giant retailers who have unlimited resources.”
Harland added that FlipNpik aims to solve this inequitable state in the social media world by allowing small local businesses to have an ecosystem dedicated to them, one where all users are able to obtain remuneration for their social engagements.
“We believe that with the power of the masses, small businesses will stand a chance to stay in the game and all users will finally be remunerated for their actions on social media,” he said.
Harland cited inbound marketing as the underlying trend behind FlipNpik, one where consumers are attracted through relevant and helpful quality content shared through channels like blogs and search engines. He said that these very consumers are no longer interested in traditional advertisements, preferring peer-to-peer recommendations.
“To be enticed by a brand or attracted to a product, the consumer must have access to instructive, entertaining and personalized content shared by a trusted source,” Harland said. “And that’s how FlipNpik was designed — by rewarding and remunerating the community to build business content and pages and share it with their friends and family."
Funding is a critical element of FlipNpik’s advancement, and the company is utilizing an initial coin offering (ICO) model.
“We have made an unconventional but democratic move by opening the private sale to the public,” Harland explained. “We have offered bonuses that are generally only offered during the private sale phase of the ICO to anyone who can spend a minimum of $100, leveling the playing field for the small investor. To date we have raised $2.5 million in the private sale.”
Ultimately, it is all an effort to drive the project’s long-term vision.
“FlipNpik aims to become the first collaborative commercial social media platform to allow users to monetize their social media engagements,” Harland said. “In the next 12 to 18 months, we envision FlipNpik as the reference for consumers seeking to find small local businesses in their neighborhoods as well as inscribe and recommend new businesses to their peers. We are also excited about it becoming a reference for tourists worldwide seeking to find businesses recommended by locals.”
Note: Trading and investing in digital assets is speculative and can be high risk. Based on the shifting business and regulatory environment of such a new industry, this content should not be considered investment or legal advice.