Are you ready to blastoff? With the Blastoff Network Internet users can customize a portal to access news, games, social networks and shopping all in one place. It’s not a new idea, as it is similar to iGoogle, but what’s different is the affiliate program and partnership with PrePaid Legal.
The idea, like with many MLMs and affiliates, is that you build a network of friends, you then all shop together in Blastoff’s network of online stores and receive commissions on yours and your friends’ purchases. Before visions of riches start dancing in your head, keep in mind you are going to need a big downline to make any serious dough. Blastoff also partnered with PrePaid Legal to give its associates early access (and extended genealogies), getting in return a group that was tailored made to do some serious buzz marketing.
And marketing they are. MLMs, just like their salesman cousins, thrive on excitement and hype to drive recruitment. I’ve seen some “Wow” emails circulating around, sadly with some bogus unsubscribe links. Hopefully these folks are not intentionally spamming.
So is it worth the hype? Some might enjoy the custom page you can build with the network. You can set it up to connect to your facebook account (the video mentions twitter as well but that seems to not be there yet), add news feeds, games, and media sites such as hulu all with selectable themes as backdrops. Since I’m not a heavy user of portals or aggregators, I turned to a millennial (early 20s) to get an opinion of it. His take? “…very clunky and unusable. Sure you could spend hours getting it just the way you like it, but it should be user friendly right off the bat. The sites different ‘hip’ colors hurts the brain and at first glance you have no idea what the site is about.” Harsh words.
I agreed with him about the non intuitive user experience with customizing the site. On the FAQ, it advised using Firefox 3.5 for the best experience. I had some problems with Firefox 3.0, but it did better with Internet Explorer 7. And I simply could not figure out how to get rid of the ESPN widget (sorry I’m just not into spectator sports). You also are limited in the sites you can add. It’s not like you can drop any feed into your page. Let’s hope the experience is improved in the future.
The shopping picture looks a bit brighter. Blastoff does have some promising looking deals on “wireless” and “home services” that might be of interest. There are some prominent names in the mall section. Of course you can find deals independently, but it is convenient to have them gathered up for you. I’ve purchased one product from the network. Looking around, I did find cheaper deals for the same thing, but when I purchased through blastoff, I got a coupon auto filled in for a 10% discount making it competitive.
Since it is completely free to join, Blastoff will cost you nothing to check out. And if you invite enough friends that like to shop, those pennies might add up .. for you as well as for me.
Kathy Alice Brown is a SEO expert specializing in Technical SEO and Content. In her spare time she loves to get outside.