Wrapp: Giving you free stuff to 'gift' to your Facebook friends

New mobile/social gift-giving service gets you free stuff you can then pass along to deserving friends and families. Is branding the future of the thoughtful gesture?

Wrapp partners will spot you gift-card money you can give to your contacts... if they qualify. Screenshot by Rafe Needleman/CNET

Wrapp rolled out in the U.S. today. It's a mobile/Facebook gifting platform, kind of like Karma, which I covered recently and liked quite a lot. I don't think Wrapp is as slick or as fun as Karma, but it's got a devilishly clever business model, and I'm having a hard time seeing how it can go wrong.

See my Reporters' Roundtable interview with Wrapp CEO Hjalmar Winbladh, below, for more. His perspective on the business of gift-giving is interesting, and it might help you come up with ways you can think around the edges of your business.

What Wrapp does that's so clever: It combines gift-giving with targeted marketing with social metrics. The idea is that if you want to gift someone (I guess that's a verb now), Wrapp will look at the person you're thinking of, figure out where they are and how valuable they are to the Wrapp partners, and display for you a number of potential gift card option. For example, if you're looking at getting something for your fashionable girlfriend, you might see a $10 gift card from H&M you can give her -- at no cost to you.

You can add on to the gift card value (and you'd better, you lout), to give her $100 (at a $90 cost). Or you can just cheap out and go for the freebie.

Either way, H&M gets a good potential customer into the store, and for a very reasonable (to H&M) expense of only $10.

Wrapp, of course, takes a fee when the "card," which resides on the recipient's smartphone, is redeemed. The company also helps brands collect data on who's connecting with whom. If the companies working with Wrapp are smart, they're also correlating big data about who's buying what based on their social profiles.

Personally, I'd rather pay for a box of chocolates with cash and give that as a gift; I don't like the thought of an honest gesture being exploited as a datapoint on some product marketing wonk's Powerpoint. But that's because I'm a romantic. Wrapp is a smart business and it really could help more people connect through gifts and gift-like gestures.

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Show notes

[0:30] The Wrapp pitch.

[2:00] The qualification angle.

[4:00] You call this a gift?

[5:00] Lessons from the launch in Sweden?

[6:15] The gift card market in the U.S. is $100 billion!

[7:00] Discussion of the mobile angle on Wrapp.

[8:20] Why gift cards are so popular as gifts.

[9:00] Comparison to Karma.

[10:00] Talking about the launch of Wrapp in the U.S

[12:00] How hard or easy is it to sell Wrapp to clients?

[13:30] Is there a Groupon danger with Wrapp gift cards?

[15:30] Wrapp-up (sorry).

 

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