Sometimes, a platform is so useful, so novel, and so well-designed that I have no choice but to write about it multiple times. So when one of the people behind IDThisItem.com sent me a message saying that the invite-only period was over, a quick browse through the site convinced me that this glorious platform absolutely deserves a second look.
The concept behind IDThisItem is simple; sometimes you see something on TV or on the internet that’s awesome. An article of clothing, some artwork, or a well-designed piece of furniture catches your eye and you think, “Alas! If only I knew where to purchase this glorious item, my life would have new meaning and my wife won’t leave me!” IDThisItem saves your marriage by allowing you to post a picture of the item with a short description and have the website’s fantastic community find the item, the designer, and/or where and how to buy it.
It’s very rare to see a start-up like this firing on all cylinders, but IDThisItem absolutely nails it. Their best decision was to emphasize their co-operation with platforms like Pinterest and Tumblr, which are both hugely popular right now. Crowdsourcing initiatives work best when they actively seek a relevant audience, and IDThisItem has done that perfectly by actively seeking an audience from these websites. It’s not uncommon to see the typical account on these websites chock-full of interesting examples of fashion and design that may not be available at your local Target.
In addition to knowing its audience, IDThisItem knows how to design a platform, too. The sign-up process is super minimal, and can be done by linking Twitter or Facebook. Submitting an item to be identified is similarly a snap, and the community fills many requests within 48 hours. Especially useful is the option to list a budget for the item in question. Rounding out the site are some simple community features, like an aggregated score for each member that tells how helpful they are, and personal “walls” for interaction. The only flaw I can find (which isn’t even a flaw yet) is that as the site grows in popularity, the “Art & Design” and “Other” categories may become too broad, and could benefit from some specialization.
In summary, anyone who’s fashion-minded, online-shopping-savvy, or has a really good photographic memory should sign up for IDThisItem immediately and save themselves some trouble down the road when they see a cute pair of jeans on Jersey Shore that they just have to have.