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An international surprise package exchange

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Jan 12, 2022
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A network for worldwide exchange of surprise gifts. You send your local goodies to a stranger across the world and get something of equal value from a completely different country. The system is designed for maximal diversity and culture shock.
People love:
  • receiving gifts and the anticipation of surprises
  • giving gifts and hearing how people felt about them
  • shopping
  • representing the uniqueness of their localities and cultures
This does it all in one platform.
How it works
A platform that mediates the exchange of gifts among strangers all around the world. The person that receives a package from you is not the same person that sends a package to you. The platform mixes and matches people according to an internal algorithm that is designed for maximal diversity and culture shock.
To receive a gift you have to:
  1. put money into the platform's escrow fund for safekeeping, in case you don't hold up your end of the bargain
  2. send a package of at least an identical value (if not more expensive) to whichever address the platform instructs you
The platform keeps track of the areas where you already received packages from and makes it so that you always get something from a place geographically as different as possible from the previous packages.
In the event you fail to provide a tracking code and the recipient does not receive your package, the platform pays a reputable member to send a replacement.
It's mandatory to rate each gift your receive and desirable to provide a feedback message to the sender. People gain points based on reviews and grow in rank. As you gain good reviews and your account ranks higher:
  • you get paired with other people that are known for sending amazing gifts
  • you get to send/receive multiple packages simultaneously
  • you get to opt for more expensive packages (higher tier)
Iterate your gifts
Consider each package you put together as a piece of art. You want it to evoke positive emotions in the receiver. You give each package a name, description and a list of items. Only you and the platform moderators can see the description and the list. But everyone sees the name the package is known under.
Based on how your package performs you can decide to iterate or reuse it as often as you want.
Creative contributions

Birthday gifts instead of/along with random surprises

jnikola Jan 13, 2022
I like the idea and support it. To make it even more adorable, I would suggest gifts be delivered to people on the platform exactly on the day of their birth! That way, people who usually receive many gifts for their birthday would receive one more if they were active on the platform. Also, people who don't receive birthday gifts would receive them now :)
If the birthdays are too rare (once a year), the same could be applied to name days, mother days, father days, etc.
Sure, random gifts are really cool since people don't expect them and they can have a greater impact. I just wanted to add another factor and hear what you think.
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Povilas S
Povilas S Feb 08, 2022
It might be a good idea to provide a possibility for the senders to personalize their gifts at least to an extent, adapting them to each specific receiver. The users could fill their profiles with information about their likes/inclinations, hobbies, even occupation and education, and the sender could check that info out before composing a gift and adapt it a little bit (or a lot) accordingly. The gifts don't have to be personalized, but if the sender runs out of creativity or just wants to add a hint to the receiver's personality, they would have something to get inspiration from.
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General comments

Spook Louw
Spook Louw2 years ago
I have seen similar ideas for book exchanges. I tried to find the program I know of online but couldn't find it. But from memory, it worked similar to a pyramid scheme, but with books.
One person might get 4 people to sign up, those 4 people might each get 5 people. The 5 people would then each send one book to the person who got them to sign up (I think you were only verified once you had sent a book). So the original person would then get 20 books in exchange for the 1 book they sent. The second group of 4 people will then later receive books from everyone that was signed up by the 5 people they introduced to the program and so on.
I never registered, but it seemed to be working quite effectively. Your only expense would be the one book and its postage and in return, you would, theoretically, receive multiple books.
I like your idea, will there be a way to verify that the value of the items being exchanged is similar? With books it's easy, they tend to be pretty equal in value across the board and nobody would send something extremely valuable because you don't know what you will receive in return. With gifts, I imagine it could be more complicated.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic2 years ago
Spook Louw there is a review/feedback system for each sender and package
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Spook Louw
Spook Louw2 years ago
Darko Savic But that is only after the fact, seems like an area that could be exploited by people setting up multiple accounts, claiming a good gift on each and sending sub-standard gifts in return. Perhaps if all gifts are sent to the company first, they verify and evaluate it, then send it on. Once your gift has been approved and sent to someone, you will qualify for receiving your gift. This is the only way I can think of for the company to be able to regulate what is being sent.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic2 years ago
Spook Louw People have to build their reputation to work up to good gifts. Everyone starts with simple stuff
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jnikola3 years ago
As I understood, it would simply be a platform where you log in and get random gifts, based on how many you send. So the service would be strictly online-based, with no real-world delivery options? If that's the case, maybe existing gift-sending companies such as GiftPack and Okimochi box can be your partners and/or investors. They could even jump in when there is a lack of gift ideas.
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