Dublin startup Thankfrank.com has launched a new service that allows user to research products by getting advice from fellow users. According to Thankfrank.com “we spend about 3 hours researching products online, just to avoid the lemon“
If you are confused about what to buy, which product works best or which brand gives the best value visit Thankfrank.com, tell them what you are looking for and see what type of advice you get. Any advice that receives a “Thanks!” gets a shopping discount making it worthwhile for experts to give good advice. CEO and Founder, Sean Ahern, commented ‘The idea for Thankfrank.com came from my love for budget home cinema. After a lot of time spent researching, I put together my own little cinema in my living room for under €1,000. When visitors saw it they instantly wanted to know how to put one together for themselves. I was delighted to tell them where I had seen the best deals and what my favourite products were, and I thought “if the shops knew how much business I was giving them, they’d be giving me my next upgrade for free! After a bit of research I realized that there might be a way to do that, so I quit my job in Microsoft in 2012 and here we are!’
Thankfrank.com aims to build a community of savvy shoppers, of genuine people willing to give their expertise, recommendations and advice to others that seek it. Thankfrank.com then aims to reward those users every time someone thanks them. Helpful members collect “Voucher Points” for giving useful tips and advice, which are then converted into real shopping vouchers at the end of each month. Sean added, ‘For me, the most important thing about our rewards is that they are collected through genuine and voluntary expressions of thanks. You cannot trick someone into saying Thanks, you have to earn it, so the level of help has to be very high as well as being very clearly unbiased. Typical sales behavior just won’t work, and that’s the way it should be.’
Thankfrank.com monetizes the helpful and influential community as a whole and distributes the proceeds back to the community using Voucher Points. Sean commented, ‘You see, if you have a lot of helpful people helping a lot of other people buy stuff, then a lot of companies want to talk to us, want us to think well of them, and want to impress us. The wider and more helpful the community, the more we can earn together to share back out to our members.’
Sean continued, ‘The site got underway in January and we are currently in Beta, but already we have thousands of people looking for and giving advice, earning thousands worth of discount vouchers together. We have seen incredibly high quality tips and suggestions on everything from touch screen laptops to comfortable flat shoes!’
Thankfrank.com currently has a team of three entrepreneurs operating out of offices in the Synergy Centre in the Institute of Technology Tallaght. CEO Sean Ahern has just completed the New Frontiers Entrepreneur Development program in association with Enterprise Ireland and the Institute of Technology Blanchardstown.
Sean commented, ‘If you are unsure as to what to buy, just come and tell us what you are looking for, and see what kind of suggestions you get. Don’t know which touchscreen laptop to choose? What compact camera is best value for indoor snaps? We all struggle with this type of stuff, so why not get someone who’s already been there to point you in the right direction? The benefit to the shopper is obvious, you get honest, unbiased and free advice on making the smartest consumer choices. The benefit to the helper is two-fold, not only do they gain that great feeling of helping someone else out, they also get a little money off their own next buy!’
When asked what the next steps are for Thankfrank.com, Sean said, ‘Our next step is the one I am most excited about. Within the coming months we will be launching a service which will enable us all to say “Thanks!” in a really cool new way. Using our “Thanks!” feature before buying will ensure that whoever you thank gets discount vouchers worth 1% of whatever you eventually spend, and it’s completely free. It will work on absolutely any platform, not just on ThankFrank.com, and I think it could be a real game changer for all of the people who already help others online in their spare time. Hopefully, we can help them get something back for all the honest advice. And in return we can encourage and reward truly helpful advice everywhere and anywhere online!’