Jet.com is a new competitor to Amazon that is getting a lot of attention lately. It’s founded by the former creator of diapers.com who sold his company to Amazon and now is planning to turn around and eat their lunch. The startup will apparently meld the concept of Costco (membership club) with the concept of Amazon (fast online delivery) and reinvent a space notorious for poor margins but high customer satisfaction.
Of course, no one knows for sure because the site hasn’t yet launched. In the interim, they are doing a “new user queue” system of the kind that has become very popular among hot software startups. This one however is gamified – so instead of just waiting your turn for access, you also have the option to earn some (pretty amazing) rewards. The method: invite your friends, earn points for all those invitations, and see your ranking improve.
As a general rule, I’m not a super big fan of “invite a friend” competitions as they tend to strike me as too banal for serious people to use. But, Jet’s approach is interesting both for its simplicity (you move up the rankings as proxy for points) and the prizes. Check out the top 3 rewards:
You can earn stock options, free lifetime memberships and more through effective promotion. I don’t think I’ve ever seen stock options before – but this feels very contemporary and pretty awesome (as long as investors and employees aren’t eligible). There are also lower level prizes for folks that don’t make the absolute top tier, like a free 1 year membership for the top 10,000 and early access for the first 100,000.
Overall, the idea of melding a referral program, early access and special prizing into one system feels new, fresh and very smart for a startup like jet. I’ve already got a bunch of friends – wealthy people no less – pushing their referral link on social media. Perhaps the stock options in a hot startup are too exciting to pass up even for a VC? Looking forward to checking back in and seeing how the promotion worked over time.