One of the new smartphone apps to come out of TechCrunch Disrupt, in addition to GetAround and Sonar, was Taap.It (originally Social Listing): think hyperlocal Craigslist for your phone. In light of the struggle of Ashton Kutcher’s Zaarly to get off the ground in New York City, Untapped chatted with the founders Duy Huynh and Ha Tran about why they think Taap.It will work in New York. Instead of a nationwide campaign, like Zaarly’s “Across Z-Nation,” Taap.It has focused on New York as their first market.
Untapped: What gave you the idea for Taap.It?
Duy: The idea for Taap.it comes from the need to have local and instant classifieds, which has not been fully addressed in the market. Right now when people want to sell classified ads, they have to go through either the local newspaper (which is costly and slow) or Craigslist (which is a hassle because you need a camera to take pictures, then transfer the pictures to your computer and post). Taap.it solves such problems but creating a fun and easy way for sellers to quickly post their ads on the mobile phone, they can simply just “taap it” to take a picture on their phone and post it within an instant.
Untapped: How is TaapIt different from other programs like Zaarly?
Duy: Zaarly actually was launched the same week as us. We are different from Zaarly in many ways: We focus on the user-friendliness of taking a picture quickly and posting it on the web. Zaarly is more like an auction market and they seem to stand between every transaction between seller and buyer, we just create an easy for buyers and sellers to connect. We also focus on promoting local businesses, helping them to market their products better.
Ha: A “very key” feature from Taap.it, which will launch July 1 and is different from Zaarly, Craigslist, eBay, Amazon, or any other products out there, is that Taap.it provides a “free, fast, and simple way” for local stores, boutiques, food trucks, etc in NYC to instantly build a “mobile store front.” Ten years ago, everyone wanted to build a website storefront to start doing e-commerce. Now with Taap.it, any local merchant can setup their mobile storefront to do m-commerce, which is a 31 billion dollar business. In order to setup, a local merchant just needs to open up their phone, take a few photos of the items that want to sell and advertise, 10 seconds later, these items go live on Taap.it Mobile Marketplace, Facebook, Twitter, and soon additional marketplaces. It requires no technical skill to build up a “mobile storefront.” The only skill it requires is to be able to take photos–and who can’t take a photo today?
Untapped: Are there any security concerns with broadcasting the exact location for the public to see of something for sale? For example, the guy with a plasma TV who might not want to reveal where he lives?
Duy: Since the day we launched in late May, we’ve received many concerns regarding the privacy of sellers and we take those feedbacks seriously. In our next releases, users can choose not to advertise their exact location.
Untapped: How do you think New Yorkers will use it differently–it’s undeniable that we’re a different breed.
Duy: We expect that big cities like New York will be the hottest areas for the app. We launched our product in New York because New Yorkers are fast and efficient so our app would definitely address that needs.
Untapped: Do you have to be on the app to be able to use it, or does it communicate with other platforms?
Duy: Right now you need to be on the app to post your classified; however, you can share our posts on Twitter, Facebook. We are building other interfaces (website, Facebook app, other social networks, etc.) to let users use the app from anywhere.
Untapped: What will be the revenue streams?
Duy: Right now we don’t have any revenue but in the future it will come from local businesses. By helping local businesses promote and market their products, we will charge them for a small fee for posting their ads. In the first phase (till the end of 2012), businesses can post for free. We don’t charge normal users for posting on our market place.