Some say we are what we like, and Vowch wants you to channel your distinct set of preferences into making recommendations.
Vowch recently launched a social recommendation app that share things users like with a community of friends and followers. VentureBeat caught up with cofounder Jeremy Parker to learn more about the app and his goal make recommendations more fun.
“There is a reason why people wear shoes with red bottoms, cover their laptop with their favorite bands’ stickers, and lobby their friends to get into Breaking Bad,” Parker told VentureBeat. “People love to associate themselves with the stuff they love. Even though knowing what people like has proven to be hugely valuable, the act of clicking ‘like’ on a piece of structured data isn’t fun. There’s no investment, no self-expression, no context.”
Vowch features a range of categories such as music, culture, and food. Users “vowch” for things they like (songs, artists, gadgets, restaurants, TV shows, designers, etc.) to build a personal profile. When you want to Vowch for something, you pick the cover photo and write your own description. You can add videos, links, songs, or a map.
Parker said Vowch wants to prompt users to be creative with their vowches, unlike other apps like Stamped and Oink, where you choose from prepopulated content. He gave the example of someone who likes Breaking Bad. Instead of vowching for the show (which is universally agreed upon to be awesome), why not select Heisenberg, Los Pollos Hermanos, or Tuco Salamanca instead?
You follow people who interest you on the activity stream and can attract followers who are interested in what you’re interested in. You can also get “likes” for your vowch, “revowch” for things, and make comments.
Basically, it has all the features you know and love from Facebook and Twitter, but with images and a focus on recommendations.
Vowch also has a numbering system which shows what number person you were to vouch for something and rewards people who vouch for things early. So finally you can prove you were in to that obscure indie band before they want mainstream.
“The company was founded because we were building a celebrity-centric e-commerce business,” Parker said. “However, many of the influential individuals we spoke with wanted a place where they could genuinely and authentically share what they really like with their fans. They wanted to share their favorite music, books, restaurants, apps, products in a place that wasn’t cluttered like social networks.”
With a dedicated app for recommendations, Vowch wants to cut down on the noise from social media networks while also broadening it beyond one category (like Spotify or Rdio, which only focus on music).
The app is not only a vehicle for expression but also for discovery. You can look for restaurants by seeing what people on Vowch like and learn about a new band, all from one place.
Vowch was founded by Parker, his brother, David, and Jesse Itzler, an early founder of Zico Coconut Water and husband of Sarah Blakely, who founded Spanx. Vowch was featured as one of the best new apps in the App store, and is working with celebrities as diverse as musician Chris Daughtry and famous fashion blogger Leandra Medine (aka The Man Repeller).
It is based in New York and emerged out of umbrella company Tippt Media.
Like this story? Want to learn more? On April 14-15, our fourth annual VentureBeat Mobile Summit will tackle the six biggest growth opportunities in mobile today. The invitation-only Summit will gather the top 180 executives at the scenic Cavallo Point Resort in Sausalito, Calif., to discuss issues like this. Request an invitation.