Monday, September 30, 2013

Internet, MLM and FOMO... is that what Rippln's about?

As I was updating my Rippln review I also listened to some podcasts, and one of them mentioned FOMO, or "fear of missing out", and how this social phobia is driving some obsessive behavior such as checking on Facebook / LinkedIn / Twitter constantly, in fear of missing some news updates, social happenings, or such that would somehow instantly make you a pariah among peers. Then the figurative lightbulb lit up over my head: 

Rippln is just a FOMO exploiter. 

Rippln's entire idea is to team up with somebody and market THEIR stuff to its constituents, and if some of the constituents buy the stuff, their upline(s) get a cut of the profit. But this is basically exploiting FOMO, where you subscribe to Rippln and hope you don't miss some special deal. 

Unfortunately for Rippln, in order to make sure that there's enough PROFIT to be split bazillion ways among what they claim to be 1.4 million ripplers, thus far Rippln has picked a couple duds. 

Rippln's first attempt at picking a newsworthy product is an overprice ($300!) and underpowered smartwatch that PC Mag calls "out of the 90's". And it's not even offered at a discount. You get the exact price by going direct to the maker, Martian Watches. So why would you go to Rippln except to make your upline a few pennies? And what sort of profit-sharing deal did they make with Martian Watches? 

Rippln's second attempt at picking a newsworthy product is an iOS app called Photoguessaroo. The name is a disaster because it's borrowed from a Dr. Seuss game called "Guess-a-roo". And the game itself is nothing special either. The game's free, but to really play you need to make in-app purchase of "coins". Frankly, there's lots of these apps already in the App Store, and this one looks like it was developed by one programmer in a week. It wasn't even that polished. App tracker websites showed it falling off the charts soon after launch. It's just not very profitable. What's more, there's no telling how Rippln's sharing the profits, unless they reached some sort of special deal with the publisher, Surya Rising, which is some sort of "app incubator" that claims to be funding apps to "success" by taking 50% of the profits and a hefty upfront fee. 

Rippln's third attempt at picking a newsworthy product is one from one of their own co-founders... Jim Bunch's "Ultimate Game of Life", where you pay $497 for a 90-day "life transformation lesson" where you set goals, and turn your life into a game to win through gamification. As Bunch had been selling this before he joined Rippln, one wonders if he really expect to pick up a lot more joiners, at $497 each, as he need to share quite a bit of the profit back? 

Frankly, people have seen through Rippln. They had been talking about Rippln as if it's the Second Coming, how it's going to revolutionize eCommerce and app purchase, and all that. People joined because they got infected by FOMO: they are afraid of missing the next big thing, the next big product, whatever Rippln claimed to be. 

When Rippln launched 3 duds in a row... okay, two duds and one average hit, people knew that this is NOT where you will get the "next big thing". Rippln lost its FOMO touch. 

And it's unlikely to ever get it back. 

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