Did you ever get, say a birthday card, from say, your great-aunt, and opened it only to find you got a gift certificate to Bed, Bath, and Beyond? “Because I figured you could use a new throw rug,” she said, eyes glimmering with self-satisfaction/righteousness and Ghandi-like benevolence. “Thanks,” you mutter, bummed. In fact, you didn’t even read the card because you were so bummed. Now, of course, in the annals of hardships, there are far bigger crosses to bear than a gift certificate to BBB. (Have you seen their new line of waffle makers? To die for!) But let’s be honest: cash would be nice. Cash rules. Cash is king. As the old saying goes, “Cash talks, gift certificates walk.”
BoonSpace is a wonderful site where any taboo of giving cash is obliterated. Better yet, you can customize your gift with a degree of imagination and creativity unforeseen by this Web-savvy vet. Not surprisingly, it’s also one of Facebook’s biggest revenue generators. And can a gazillion Facebook users be wrong? Unlikely.
BoonSpace enables people to send money as a gift in a fun, creative way. You can add an e-card, a photo, audio, animation, or a video – either by uploading one or filming one live using your Webcam. Essentially this is the closest thing to sitting down with wrapping paper, a card, scotch tape, and a pen and doing the manual work the old fashioned way. It’s an all-encompassing e-gift package, created in the comfort of your home, and you don’t have to navigate Target and its throngs on the weekends to do it.
So I signed up. I was taken to a page where I could create my gift. My choices were: Message Center, Photo Booth, Film Set, Recording Studio, Gift Shop, and Send It! They were arranged left-to-right, insinuating a chronological process, so I began with Message Center. Here’s how it went:
- I entered a gift title (“Enjoy Guam, Great-Aunt Maude!”)
- I chose the occasion (“Bon Voyage”) from a robust list, and the preview popped up (bear in mind, the whole time, a convenient “Tutorial” button was nearby.)
- Then I typed my message (“Here’s hoping Guam’s climate will help minimize the symptoms of your condition!”)
- Then I could upload a picture, audio file, or video to accompany it.
- In the Gift Shop, I chose my option (Free Version; others were “Send Money With Gift” and “Virtual $1 Gift Animation,” via PayPal.)
- Then I previewed it, and then I was done!
The layout is crisp and colorful, so much that I almost felt manipulated to give a gift. How’d they do that?
OK, two quick suggestions:
- The home page has a calendar called “Recent New” (e.g. “Jan 11 – 5 Reasons Why Cash is Better Than a Gift Card; you gotta scroll to the bottom.) It’d be cool if they added all those fun and obscure holidays in the calendar to give viewers yet another reason to give money. Like Administrative Professionals’ Day (April 28th) or Arbor Day (April 30th.) Or February 9th, the feast day of Saint Apollonia, the patron saint of dentistry (less than a week left, get moving!)
- Once logged it, it was hard to log out. That is, I was expecting the option to be next to my glowing-purple log-in name, when in fact it was on the blue navigation bar. No biggie.
BoonSpace, as I mentioned, partners with PayPal, so, in closing, it’s worth point out the differences between the two. Rather than fall back on the all-too-easy “Ugly Step-Sister” analogy, I’ll simply say that BoonSpace is like PayPal with lipstick, a nice dress, and a killer sense of humor, wit, and aesthetic sensibility. She’s a good listener, tips well, and doesn’t crowd you. She gives you space. She makes a mean homemade pesto! PayPal makes me want to file my taxes; BoonSpace makes me want to paint a painting, sing a song, dance a jig. Don’t get me wrong, PayPal is nice and efficient, but it is what it is – a transactional middleman. BoonSpace expands upon this concept of giving money – namely, cash – and allows you to add that critical personal touch so sadly and often overlooked in this go-go digital world. Now if your great aunt only knew how you turn a computer on. Then you’d be in business.
Oh please don’t do this to us BoonSpace. You left? No note? No goodbye? Just the sad 403 error to inform us of your departure.