Published on by PerfectKLIK
The idea of PerfectKLIK was born in the light of the growing popularity and attention surrounding the “sharing economy” concept. Born as Millennials, the founders of PerfectKLIK have grown up in a world where the Internet provided new avenues for social exchange. We have surfed and offered couches, found room mates for our collocation and grown accustomed to participating in events organized and publicized via social media groups. However, we never called any of these “sharing economy” platforms, even though to this day they might be the only ones who truly are.
The first time we heard the expression “sharing economy” was some years ago in conjunction with the media hype of the new stars of the sharing economy offering car sharing and holiday rental. What immediately struck us was the question: “Where is the sharing?” It was obvious to us that the none of these sharing economy platforms were about sharing, but rather about access and market place. For example, through these platforms, you are not sharing a car, you are renting a car with a driver from a private individual for a short period of time to take you from one place to another. We therefore started using the term “access economy” as a more appropriate term when referring to the phenomenon.
Although the majority of these platforms are exciting and innovative online market places, there was something that just didn’t sit right with us. In the beginning it was difficult to articulate it, but soon we realized that what made the new stars of the sharing economy taste bad to us was their business model. This model can, in best of terms, be described as operating as an escrow service, where they take a commission for handling payments between a service provider and a customer. The less diplomatic way of describing them would be that they aggressively push gray market services while taking advantage of “employment contracts” through which they take away all traditional employment rights of the workers while simultaneously burdening them with total liability to their customers. Neither description has anything to do with sharing.
Let us be clear, we are not under any persuasion that creating online peer-to-peer market places is a bad thing, even though they have nothing to do with sharing. However, we do not feel comfortable with their business model.
As we see it, there are three possible business models for an access economy platform:
While they are all legitimate business models, the first two befog transactions with a degree of opacity. Escrow-like services create a one-sided dependency in disfavor of their service providers, through which they are locked into a system where both pricing and distribution of assignments is at the complete discretion of the company controlling the online platform. For advertisement and paid featured placement type services the end-user cannot trust that he/she will receive the best search results, because the search results are ranked based on factors other than quality/ suitability. The third option traditionally means that either the service providers, the end-users or both have to pay in advance for a service or offer that they might not even get a benefit from.
PerfectKLIK is taking advantage of a business model where service providers can act as independent actors and end-users get the advantage of a transparent access economy market place. We do this by tying the membership fee to the facilitation of a transaction rather than the advertisement of the service. In practice this means that a user can pay a fee only once he/she has initiated an interest in one or more offers or users on the platform, and that the fee is completely unrelated to the offer or service itself. We call this the progressive membership model. Basically, the model is comparable to setting up a stall at a market, with the benefit of taking advantage of all the added-value components that come with an access economy platform, such as: active market moderation, user profile vetting and reviews. The result is a hybrid between a traditional classified ads service, a Web 2.0 access economy platform and a social network.
While the discussion on sharing economy versus access economy and the elaboration on the idea of the progressive membership model might be a bit lengthy, it is necessary to discuss them in order to understand how PerfectKLIK sees its purpose and its goal for the end-user experience. Taking advantage of this model, we are able to:
For the beginning, we will provide applications for property sharing and property rental. The house rental and sharing market is a high-risk market that involves a huge social component and we are certain that our platform will contribute to reducing risks and lowering the transaction cost for everyone involved. In the future we aim at expanding gradually by implementing other applications into our system. Our goal is to become the operating system for the access economy. As our platform is built in part like a social network, we want to leverage this by tying an increasing number of applications within the access economy sector to one user profile. We believe that a review left for an exemplary room mate is also relevant when looking for someone to rent your car to.
Both suppliers and consumers will benefit by taking advantage of an access economy market platform for all types of transactions where the social component is of importance, reducing risks and helping build stronger communities and social trust.
The first Romanian online platform dedicated to the access economy, by S.C. PerfectKLIK Indie Studio S.R.L.