WujWuj makes group gifting easier, at a price

Give gifts with buddies using WujWuj.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
3 min read

WujWuj is a badly named, yet really simple to use group gifting service. The aim is to let you gift a single friend with one or more items from Amazon.com and spread out the payment over a group of friends. It's not a new idea--Fundable and FromEveryone do this. As do HomeSlyce and ChipIn, which manage to tack on general purpose fund raising as well.

What might be WujWuj's greatest asset is that it handles multiple gift giving with some basic intelligence. You can add as many presents to the list as you want, and it'll send out whatever it can based on what you and your buddies scrap together before the giving cutoff time. This means you don't need to raise your entire amount as long as it covers items on the top of the list.

Add items you want to gift into a big list. Others can pitch in to get the items, which are shipped out. (click to enlarge) CNET Networks

Creating a list and inviting people to contribute is a snap. You can add items by searching through the built-in Amazon search engine. It's not as fast as hunting for gifts on Amazon's site, but if you're looking for big name items you're likely to find what you're looking for on the first pass. When it comes time to invite others to get in on the purchase you can either knock out contacts one at a time or slurp them from your address book on a handful of popular e-mail services.

The invite to pay (and go to the party) goes out in the form of an event that has its own special landing page. As the creator you can add all sorts of content like photos, a video from your digital camera, along with related links. It also shows a progress bar with how much money you've raised, as well as which gifts have been met with enough cash to get them. If your cohorts want to pitch in there's a small fee which goes to pay for the transaction--unfortunately as a donor you can't pick which item/s you want your funds to go to, which I'd like to see amended.

Things I don't like about the service include the taxes and additional fees. In most states, buying electronics from Amazon means whatever you're buying is tax free. I added an iPod touch to my WujWuj gift list, which tacked on an extra $10 in tax to the purchase price. There was also a mystery $23 "service charge" despite WujWuj's claims that it's making money only in transaction fees and whatever love it gets back from Amazon for being an affiliate store. Not cool. For that I wouldn't recommend using WujWuj, despite its ease. You're better off simply using a money pooling tool like ChipIn (which links up to your Facebook buddies) and separate Web 2.0 event planning app like Socializr and MyPunchbowl.

Update: CEO of WujWuj Monti Majthoub contacted me to clear up the service fees. The good news is that both the taxes and the service fees will be a thing of the past starting next week. I've pasted his points below:

1- The service fee was tagged the last minute because Amazon refused to include us into their "affiliate program" because we would be buying and shipping the gifts, there for amazon would not agree to include us in the "affiliate program" It doesnt matter, the solution is:- we will REMOVE the service fee ASAP, no later than Monday. Please make a note of this.
2- Taxes is a bug, we will be "collecting" Taxes on 5 states where amazon collects, Kansas, Kentucky, North Dakota, New York or Washington are subject to tax.
3-We will instead charge 7.9% to people that donate, 3.9% will be going to paypal/Credit card fees.

Majthoub also tells me he's trying to talk to Amazon about the affiliate fee, which he's trying to get rid of.

[via SimpleSpark]