Cheezburger Creator’s Startup SimpleHoney Shifts Focus From Travel To ‘I Want Wish List’ App

SimpleHoney, the startup co-founded by Joyce Kim (former CEO of Korean pop site and former co-host of the GigaOm show) and Eric Nakagawa (creator of the I Can Has Cheezburger blog), is pursuing a new goal — creating the perfect app for “wish list commerce.”

When SimpleHoney launched in May of last year, its goal was to connect travelers with the right hotel based on their personality. The problem, according to Kim (who’s also the startup’s CEO), was that people just didn’t travel enough for the site to build an ongoing relationship with its users — it probably didn’t help that the site was limited to hotels San Francisco and Hawaii. At the same time, the team saw that its “stickiest” feature was the ability to create travel wishlists, so it decided to build a wishlist-focused app, which became the I Want Wish List iPhone app.

The idea of creating a wish list is hardly new, but the new app is appealingly simple — Kim described the development process as “stripping down” all the unnecessary features. You search for products that you’re interested in, then add them to your list, which is presented in a clean, image-driven layout. The list is private by default, but you can share it with friends via Twitter, Facebook, and email. For now, the products are all pulled from Amazon (the team wants to add other online retailers eventually), and the app also alerts you when there are price changes and allows you to make purchases.

The ultimate result is a list that’s easy to consult and to update while you’re on-the-go. (I don’t imagine that this will be a common use case, but I’m starting using the app to create a list of books that I want to buy when I’m visiting my neighborhood bookstores.) In a blog post announcing the app, Kim says that with I Want Wish List, “You simply create a list of the products you want to buy and we let you know when it is the right time to buy and where.” The company will be adding more features, especially on “the right time to buy and where” side of things, and also expanding to the desktop web and tablets,

In the first month after the app launched, Kim said it was downloaded around 30,000 times. During the peak holiday season, its users were performing one search per second. And sixty percent of those searches result in an addition to the wish list — so these are real, purpose-driven searches, and they’re bringing up products that people really want. Kim even told me that Nakagawa has compared the initial user response to the  excitement he saw in the early days of I Can Has Cheezburger.

As for the SimpleHoney travel site, it’s still available, but Kim said the team won’t be doing any more serious work on it. Both I Want Wish Lists (which you can download here) and SimpleHoney are now branded as products from Honey Labs.