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Do you feel Facebook knows more about your children than you do? Think your girlfriend spends too much time checking updates from her friends?

Well, you can finally use the Facebook addiction of your loved ones to your advantage. A week ago, the founders of social gifting website Giveter introduced a feature which makes recommendations to a user based on the recipient’s Facebook Likes. So, for example, if your friend recently ‘Liked’ the latest Batman movie on Facebook, Giveter will suggest you buy him a Batman-themed t-shirt or mug.

The brainchild of Avinash Saxena,former CTO at Zomato, an online restaurant guide, and business consultant Mayank Bhangadia, Giveter was set up in July this year after the two IIT Delhi graduates observed that users who visit online shopping websites looking for gifts are further confused by the variety of choice.

Giveter founders Mayank Bhangadia (L) and Avinash Saxena

In a conversation with Real Reviews, Mayank said, “Generally, websites feature a laundry list of recommendations that are forced and based on the website’s inventory. So we thought there is a gap over here.” At Giveter, the search algorithm takes into account a recipient’s age, gender and relationship with the gift giver.

But the most interesting thing about Giveter is its Facebook Likes feature. We tried it out on some friends on Facebook but got mixed results. While throwing up a general list of suggestions for most of them, it was only for the most active Facebookers that Giveter was able to make personalized recommendations which were truly quite helpful.

Agreeing with our observation, Mayank said, “There is a first layer of product recommendations that would suit everyone within your chosen age group and gender and is based on our expert curation. The social part, however, is dependent on how active the recipient is on Facebook. So for the younger generation who are a lot more active on Facebook, this feature is able to recommend a lot more products.”

But what stops a customer from buying directly from websites like Flipkart and Sports 365? Mayank says, “If you are very clear about what the right gift is, you should go to Flipkart. But if you are not sure about what to gift, then Giveter helps you decide based on your mood, what the recipient would like and what is good for that gifting situation. There is a lot of confusion in most people but not all.”

Screenshot of the Giveter website

Giveter currently features more than 3,500 gifts with the most popular categories being home décor, personal care products, flowers, cakes, electronics and books.

Giveter’s Facebook Likes feature has spurred further interest ever since the social networking website itself announced the launch of Facebook Gifts on September 27. Much like Giveter, this feature will soon allow users to select gifts based on a friend’s Facebook activity. Additionally, it will also let them ship the gift to the recipient through Facebook itself. Mayank, however, isn’t too worried. “We are yet to see what the product will be. Given the scale, it would be very difficult for them to take up a very open model and source gifts from multiple vendors like we are doing, so their offerings I think would be limited and they will offer token gifts,” he says.

Meanwhile, if you’re wondering whether giving Giveter access to your Facebook information will ruin the surprise, Mayank assures that Giveter maintains complete privacy while extracting your friends’ Facebook Likes and does not publish its presence on Facebook at all.

What makes Giveter stand out, according to its founders, is that it not only takes into consideration the person receiving the gift and the gift itself, but also the person giving the gift. “We take into account statistical giver behavior,” says Mayank. “If you have a particular kind of choice or an affinity for specific kinds of products, we take that into account. If it’s the second time you’re on Giveter to look for a gift for your boyfriend, your previous purchase will be taken into account. Very simply, we have a lot of filters we apply based on age group, the occasion, the recipient’s personality, the giver’s mood etc.”

He adds, “We will be incorporating practical filters such as timing. Very soon, you can search for gifts based on the expected date of delivery. We will also introduce calendars to remind users that it’s time to look for a gift for a friend’s upcoming birthday.”

When we ask him about his thoughts on the social gifting scene in India and online shopping in general, Mayank says, “I think overall it’s a pretty new experience in India but on a daily basis, it’s growing very fast. If there is one thing that people need is that assurance – part of it is experiencing it themselves and part of it is websites that are making processes and delivery systems more robust to help people gain confidence. Overall, the industry is growing pretty fast.”

Giveter plans to expand into other social networks soon. The Giveter team has also started aggregating data on Facebook Likes and other social media activity of its users which they hope will help them refine their search algorithms even more in the coming months. Read more about the venture and the business model here.

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One Response

  1. Yogesh Godse

    Thanks for the post, it is really helpful.