Currently, Jig users can only post their needs, and respond to posts, but they will eventually be able to make “offers,” too, Schachter says. The details are undecided, but this could include offering household goods that are no longer needed, for example.
“Your neighbors, and other people around you, know stuff that’s useful to you, you just don’t know that,” says Schachter. To illustrate his point, Schachter describes running into a colleague just before heading to Tuscany on vacation, and discovering that this person was an expert on the region, and had valuable advice. “People really like to be helpful, and they like to be right,” he says.
Jig has been tested privately for weeks and was made available to all last Friday. So far, the site is being used mainly by the tech-savvy. Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley experimented this week with using the site to find new employees, and former venture capitalist and incoming director of MIT’s Media Lab, Joi Ito, used the site to ask for dive site recommendations while on vacation.
Schachter says it is too early to talk about how the site will make money. However, every other social network relies on advertising to make a profit. Kimberly Maul, with online advertising research firm eMarketer, says that Jig seems particularly well suited to that business model. “People are very specific about what they want and are already talking about products and services on there,” Maul says. “People post these kinds of needs on Facebook, but with Jig, it is the whole point of the network, so the density is higher.”
Maul also predicts that companies will be keen to create their own profiles on the site. It has become standard for companies to have a presence on Facebook and Twitter, and when Google launched its own social network this year, companies clamored to create accounts for their brands. Schachter says he hasn’t yet decided how corporate accounts will figure in Jig’s future.
Maul adds that for Jig to successfully serve individual and corporate users, it will have to attract more users, and carve out a sustainable niche between existing social networks. “I’m curious to see if they get a good community outside just the early adopters,” she says.