Time for a little unabashed patriotic chest beating here, because new UK service ‘Hunt for it’ is hoping to take on the mighty eBay.
Like most ingenious IT ideas it was thought up by a teenager and like most ingenious battle plans it tackles its enemy from the side (think Greeks verses Trojans and Google verses Microsoft). The theory behind it is simple too: make an auction site where users don’t need to be trapped in front of their computers.
The way Hunt for it has implemented this is via text messaging. True, eBay offers a similar service through O2 using WAP, but Hunt for it is open to any network and SMS is faster and most cost efficient. Furthermore, all listings are free and a seller will receive 5p for every bid he receives on his item. A profile can also be set up on the hunt for it website enabling users to receive texts whenever specific items become available. The company uses the example phrase: ‘Ordinary Boys concert tickets’ but hopefully there will be more tasteful requests made instead for the likes of Hard-Fi or Arcade Fire….
Adding to our jingoism is also news that Hunt for it will donate 10 per cent of all money spent on ‘add-ons’ to improve item visibility to a Community Shield to be auctioned off to local community projects every quarter. There seems to be significant weight behind the project too with 15,000 items estimated to be available from day one (check the site for details).
As with any company that nibbles at the fins of bigger fish it will be interesting to see whether Hunt for it makes a dent, sinks without trace or is snapped up by its intended rival as a worthwhile investment technology. I wouldn’t rule out any of these options, but for now we’ll continue to sing God Save The Queen while making a cup of tea, polishing our Bowler Hats and gobbling down some fish n chips (we’re great multitaskers we English).