The drinks vouchers Facebook app – it's come to this

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Every week, for the next few weeks, we’ll be giving an intern a chance to shine on Techcrunch UK. The below post is written by this week’s intern, Grant Bell, a young entrepreneur (see below).

The pointlessness of most Facebook applications knows no bounds but at least here’s one that appears to be the the first application that enables people to send each other alcohol.

GetThemIn is, currently a Facebook app which lets you send drinks vouchers to friends. Once installed you select your poison, the friend you wish to intoxicate and then pay. You can alert your chosen friend through a text messaging service provided. But there’s a simple way the makers have addressed the issue of teenagers sending eachother bottles of White Lightning. Your friend has to redeem the code through the app, get sent a coupon via snail mail, then take that coupon to a participating store, which is obviously going to check the age of the recipient. Over 1,500 participating stores in the UK, including Threshers, The Local, Wine Rack and Haddows. GetThemIn is the brainchild of Jay Feeney, entrepreneur with promotional experience in product and event management for bars and clubs in Scotland.

There are some issues however, apart from this being an app with less than instant gratification. I would have liked to have seen the inclusion of PayPal as a payment method. The app currently only supports Google Checkout. Although it does support almost all major credit and debits cards, GetThemIn is the type of app you would use at a whim and you don’t want to have to be signing up to a new online payment service like Checkout.

Virtual gifts have been popular on Facebook and are being lauded as a future business model, but at least this is a little more ‘real,’ however so take that at face value is to miss the power that virtual goods will have in the future. And I fail to see how this app is anything other than a marketing gimmick from the participating stores. There doesn’t seem to be any real advantage over buying from an online supermarket and just changing the delivery address, or are we missing something here?

GetThemIn aims to be an app for social sites in the US, Canada, Australia and Ireland and aims to expand to Bebo, Friendster, Hi5, MySpace, Orkut and LinkedIn, though I don’t quite see the how Bebo (largely teens) or LinkedIn (largely business) would let this app on their platform.

  • E

    Nice review. Though as mentioned, waiting for a coupon through the letterbox kind of kills any potential excitement this might have had for me… – btw Mike…since when was Techcrunch UK interning?

    I’d very much like to apply!

  • Dirk

    I joined this application yesterday. Whilst I agree the paper voucher isn’t the quickest way of collecting the product, isn’t the point that the virtual gift is the thing that is instantly sent? (the voucher just makes it real if you want to cash it in). You can send the virtual gift to other friends.

    I really like the app although i’d like to see a birthday reminder on there at some point.

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  • Martin Dowson

    Hi Grant,

    Thanks for the great review!  We totally share your frustration that things on fb are a little too virtual right now and that has completely driven our desire to build this app.

    On buying from supermarket stores online… it is not possible to buy single items of drink and have those delivered and even if it were delivery charges are at least £3.50-£5.00.  Plus you would need the physical home address of all of your friends in order to be able to do that, and to arrange a delivery time for them.  With GetThemIn your friend fills out their address details when they want to redeem it.

    We’re really excited about this application… this genuinely is the best way to get a drink gift to your friend anywhere in the country without restricting them to a particular place.  We chose our drinks distribution partner very carefully in that regard.

    BTW We’re working on PayPal integration, however we think Google checkout is a clean and simple mechanism that is simple to get through even if you’re not previously registered.

    Thanks again for the review, we really appreciate your interest… let’s start getting REAL!

    @E – Initially the gift “gesture” is sent straight away by SMS and virtual gift.  Our virtual gifts can be passed back and forth across the network.  It’s only when you wish to redeem and collect the real product when the voucher is required.  For now, our paper vouchers are secure and trusted in a distributed retail environment but we’re always looking at future redemption models to make the process even slicker.

    Martin (GTI Bus Dev)

  • Joshua March

    Good find Grant.

    Would point out that if Facebook finally get around to releasing their payments API apps like this would be able to take payments in a much slicker and easier fashion (even easier than using PayPal).

    Agree on the mail issue as well – some form of mobile redemption would work better.

  • Marc Steel

    I’m a member of Facebook but am getting a bit concerned at how it is taking over our lives. First we would call people on LAN lines, then there were mobile phones, then there was text messaging, then Skype and now there is no need for any contact as we can just send a voucher seeing if your mate wants a drink. Fair play to Facebook for taking advantage of this but I think I’ll still be using the faithful old Batman symbol to ask my mates down the pub.

  • Adam Hedley-Smith

    Hey all,

    We’re working with Threshers – check out what this year’s offer could have been, and if you’ve got any suggestions for next year? –



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