Links to revolutionize peer-to-peer e-commerce?

By March 16, 2012 2 comments
Keywords : Smart city, America

Anyone can now have an online store with, a simple link shortener service. Links can be shared on social networks, which could become a peer-to-peer marketplace.


In what may be the most minimal e-commerce experience yet, Gumroad lets anyone have their own online store consisting of a link. The service essentially circumvents peer commerce sites like eBay or Etsy, and its payment system relies on PayPal. Relying on social network integration to provide traffic and customers, Gumroad provides a link shortener that connects to whatever the user wants to sell - they can upload an image or other type of file, or connect to a URL for some other type of product. Founder Sahil Lavingia created this site specifically for creative people to have a place that they could easily monetize work that might otherwise be unpublished.

Gumroad provides users with a simple product and payment interface

The former Pinterest and Turntable designer came up with the idea after working on a Photoshop file for hours, which did not end up getting used for a project. Lavingia realized that he had plenty of Twitter followers who were designers, and it was possible that some of them might want to purchase the PSD file for their own use. “That's when I realized it is really hard to make money on the Internet. I envisioned a link service like, with a credit card form in-between," Lavingia said. That is how the finished product ended up - a product page with a payment form, which is sent to Gumroad, then deposited in the user’s account monthly, less a service cut.

Links can be embedded anywhere, including mobile

Gumroad’s simplicity could have a huge influence on e-commerce. Its main interface element - the link - is such a flexible tool that can be integrated into blogs or sites easily. Even more significantly, the link enables an online store for individuals who do not even have a blog or website. Facebook and Twitter integration creates a home for these links that is the most democratic of all. Additionally, links are very mobile-friendly, and with smartphone ownership becoming the norm, we can expect significant growth potential for online purchasing that is vendor and app independent.

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In fact, they operate in a tight market already with a list of similar players -

Submitted by Alex (not verified) - on January 17, 2013 at 02:23 pm

I work for a company called We share a similar aim to Gumroad with making it easy for bloggers and online entrepreneurs to be able to sell their stuff and get paid without the need for any complicated programming. Just like embedding a YouTube video.

The best bit is that unlike a lot of buy buttons, Selz and Gumroad makes it very easy for people to buy quickly and securely without having to leave the bloggers site.

The other innovation as you mentioned in your article is both Selz and Gumroad have the social integration built in. Which means that you can sell via social networks not just use them to drive traffic to an external e-commerce site.

Submitted by Geoff (not verified) - on August 23, 2013 at 01:17 am

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