Darudar Thanks Cards - Our Way to Monetize

    Darudar is a gift service with the help of which any person can give another his service or thing. Asking for something in exchange is prohibited by community rules.

    Read more about the mechanics of the service to better understand the future
    To receive a gift, you need to tell why you need it. Whose story is most attracted to the giver, that he gives. Before that, he can additionally look into the profiles of those who wish to find out better what kind of people they are that they themselves have ever gifted. For each gift received, it is customary to write public thanks. Thus, wealth is redistributed among the participants in the community without money at all. And this is not a utopia, it is a gift economy. With the help of our service, more than 2 thousand gifts are given daily, and in just 5 years of Darudar's existence, more than 2 million gifts have been presented.

    Where's the money?

    The question that we are always asked: where is the money, due to which you live and develop? This question is acute for any startup, and for Darudar it is especially difficult due to the fundamental “non-monetary” nature of the project. Over the past few years, we have been intensively looking for our monetization path. We invent and sort out a variety of ways.

    And now, for the first time, it seems to us, we have found a way that not only organically fits into the ecosystem of our community, but also lays a solid foundation for the project’s self-financing. A week ago, we launched a new service on Darudar - thank you cards. We want to tell you what it is, how we came to this, what other existing or existing services looked at.

    Thank you card

    Each month, community members write to each other thousands of thanks for the gift. Thanks are very different: from the banal monosyllabic "thank you" to the true masterpieces of photography and literature . One can safely say that Darudar has developed its own special genre of thank-you messages.

    And we decided to offer the community a new way to express our appreciation. As a token of gratitude for the gift received, it is now possible not only to publish ordinary thanks, but also send a unique commemorative postcard to your donor. This is a real postcard that a person draws up directly on the site, and we already find out the address of the recipient, print it in a print shop and send it.

    Each such postcard always has its own virtual double: the online copy of the postcard is saved, among other thanks to the user. You can also release one virtual postcard, without a mail, if you want.

    The published postcard looks like this:

    An important role in the design of the postcard is played by the choice of cover from our collection:

    If simple thanks remain free, then postcards are paid:

    In fact, we are talking about the Freemium model . An interesting story is how we came to the idea of ​​postcards. It all seems obvious and logical now. However, this was not always the case.

    Gift to choose

    At some point in time, we found that some users of Darudar no longer just give away things that have become unnecessary to them, but specifically buy something to give to the community. At the same time, they are guided by the fact that they are most in demand and which always has a lot of comers. And the idea dawned on us: what if we open a special online store? In this store it will be possible to buy things both for laying out as a gift in search of a wishing person, and to give directly to your friends as a gift for any significant occasion.

    While we were mulling over the details and labor costs of the new service, we discovered a very young startup, BeriDarywhich offered very similar mechanics. People were invited to give each other "gifts of choice." To do this, you had to pay the amount that you are willing to spend on a gift to your acquaintance or friend, and he then independently, within this amount, chose from the store’s catalog what he liked. The trick was that the donor did not see any price tags, which radically distinguished the gift of choice from the gift certificate .

    We immediately made friends with Sergei Maksimchuk, co-founder and project manager, I told him the idea of ​​our store and how we can help each other. And we decided to integrate as soon as BeriDari gets the necessary functionality and builds its own logistics.

    Time passed, we waited for the version of the service that we liked, at some point in time I could not even stand it and got a job in BeriDari to help with its implementation and bringing it to mind. However, it so happened that the investors decided to close this project, and we did not have time to try anything with Darudar.

    However, I realized how complex such a project is in implementation. Logistics turned out to be the bottleneck: how to make the assortment of an online store as wide as possible and always match with real stocks? Another difficulty consisted in conveying to people a new unusual practice of giving gifts without the traditional personal meeting in such cases. In general, I realized that alone we can’t pull out such a project without proper investment.

    While practicing BuryDary, I discovered a very beautiful American project Wantful , which offered its users exactly the same service. Their know-how was that they offered to make out a gift in the form of a catalog of things that you personally created on their website. The catalog was printed in a printing house on beautiful designer paper and sent by mail to the recipient, who could only choose from him the very thing that he liked most. It was no longer necessary to pay: everything, including postage, was paid in advance by the donor. Unfortunately, this project also closed, a couple of months after BeriDary.

    In parallel, Facebook tried to launchsomething like that. However, as I understood it, in the end he also abandoned the original idea and came to the usual gift certificates.

    Thank You Tickets

    When I worked in BeriDari, a stranger called me and said that he had an idea how Darudar could make money. So we met with Dmitry Lisin. Dmitry said that a few years ago he presented a children's toy on Darudar. And then he somehow went to the site to see what it was like, and was amazed to learn that his toy, about which he had already forgotten, was several times gifted to completely unfamiliar people and created a whole story of gratitude during that time.

    So he came to his "currency of gratitude." The basic idea is to thank strangers for the kindness shown to you with real Thank You paper tickets. Each ticket has its own unique number and service address, on which you can drive this number in and find out from whom and to whom the ticket was transferred and for what reason. Issues and sells gratitude tickets to the Bank of Good .

    The “Thank you” ticket differs from the usual Treasury ticket (money) in that you do not pay them, but give thanks. And accordingly, it is more important for you not to save, not to accumulate tickets, but rather spend them as quickly as possible. Because this is the only way you create a history of good deeds, you are a conductor of positive energy, launched once and by someone long before you.

    Actually, Dmitry offered to sell thank-you tickets on Darudar and earn just that. The idea seemed amazing to me, but soon the fairy tale affects, but not soon the thing is done. Again, the question arose of finalizing the new service to a finished working product. We tried to get involved in the process, but this time there was not enough time and energy at all. I really hope that we are still ahead, we will integrate!

    Greeting Card Service

    Once upon a time we were in absentia friends with the postcrossing.org service , where people give each other real postcards. To whom you send your next card, the service decides with the help of a random number generator. A person until the very last moment, until he opens his mailbox, does not know from whom and from which country the next postcard will come to him.

    We in Darudar were also carried away by the format of live postcards and twice already, in honor of the birthday of the service, we issued small collection runs of postcards on the theme “I give you”. Yes, all the card designs were drawn by community members themselves!

    Inspired by the "currency of gratitude", we thought about not just selling our postcards, but providing people with a whole service, with the help of which they could choose the card they like right on the site, write their message and indicate the recipient. And we ourselves will write their message in a postcard and send where they say. We began to think how to produce cards, how to write a message, for what reasons people can send them to each other. It was obvious to us that one of such important reasons should be an occasion to thank.

    By the way, for a long time, as soon as we realized the power of gratitude on Darudar, we thought about a separate service dedicated to thanks to each other. And once we even framed this idea for implementation within one large international company. Unfortunately, the matter did not go further than the description and discussion of the project.

    We found several similar projects on the net. None of them worked as expected. It only encouraged us. But once again, we were faced with the fact that it would take quite a lot of strength to translate the project into reality. And this project will be very indirectly associated with Darudar. In fact, it will be a completely different project, and we just sprayed. For starters, you can try sending only virtual cards to each other ?!

    Virtual gifts

    For a long time, we have been haunted by the idea of ​​virtual gifts. Against the background of our real gifts, transmitted to each other in person, virtual gifts always seemed to us something "sacrilegious" (but in vain!). However, for example, the PR department of Odnoklassniki directly says that their "core business is virtual gifts." Yes, and in other publications it is repeatedly emphasized that of the total revenue of this social network, a significant, if not a large part, falls on virtual gifts.

    Another popular source of income recently has been virtual stickers that users of various instant messengers (Path, Line, Facebook, WhatsUp) send to a friend, thus expressing their emotions.

    Question: “Do you use stickers in your messengers?” It turns out that 40% of respondents use it. True, most of them use free stickers, and only 20% buy paid sets. But still it’s impressive, agree! (Source siliconrus.com/2013/12/voynyi-messendzherov ).

    Going back to the beginning

    As a result, it dawned on us: so users of Darudar can issue thank-you cards ! There is no need to invent a reason for such a release, it always exists within the framework of our community - this is an expression of special gratitude for the gift you received. At the same time, any postcard issued by you is a contribution to the development of the project. Do you want to release a real postcard? You can release a virtual one! Let this be a kind of virtual gift, only in the context of the reality that Darudar creates, on which people interact with others using gifts.

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