Updated: July 4, 2011
When you’re looking for extra income, the easiest way to find it is to sell something.
But aside from the contention of what to sell, two other important questions that need immediate answers are where and how to sell your products.
And for some, specially a good number of enterprising Filipinos out there, building an online store through Multiply is the answer.
Multiply (http://multiply.com) is a social networking website whose services emphasize on sharing media such as photos, videos and blog entries to your real life connections. It started in March 2004 and now has over 11 million registered users – with Filipinos making up at least 2.2 million of that population.
While there are many other social networking sites out there such as Friendster and Facebook, Multiply has become the preferred medium for Pinoy entrepreneurs when it comes to building an online store.
In an interview with several Multiply online store owners, most of them agree on the following advantages that the social network brings:
- It’s free to sign up. There’s no web hosting fees to pay for your online store. Moreover, you can just buy a domain name and point it to your Multiply account.
- It’s user friendly and easy to customize. Even a “non-techie” can build his or her own online store within minutes.
- The social networking aspect of Multiply encourages meaningful connections with potential and existing customers.
When asked about the disadvantages, they share:
- Lack of a ratings system. Although post responses or comments can serve as testimonials, those who wish to do so would have to sign up for a Multiply account first.
- While customizing is easy and there are numerous free multiply themes and layouts available online, a good knowledge on CSS is required to fully transform your page into a unique layout that will meet your preferences in design.
- With so many people already using Multiply for their business and freelance activities, there is a tendency for others to “spam” your site with their own ads. While you can easily moderate and delete these comments, it doesn’t really discourage others from still doing it.
The Multiply Terms of Service specifies that it cannot be used for commercial use by its members, which makes your online store at possible risk of being closed down anytime. Yes, you’ve read it right, Multiply’s TOS has a section on Non Commercial Use by Members, which has been already been subject to a lot of interpretation – the most popular being that it only applies to corporate and business entities and not individuals; and that as long as you don’t spam others and don’t get reported for spamming, you’re safe. So while the Multiply admin has yet to make an official statement regarding this issue, online store owners in Multiply are advised to always be ready. Make sure you have a back-up of your content as well as your contacts and customers in your network. In the meantime, one fact still remains, people have taken advantage of the popularity of social networking websites and have transformed it to become more than just a place to connect.
Update: Thanks to Paulo who made a comment below, it’s now legal and also, so much easier, to sell stuff in Multiply because of Multiply Commerce ( aka Multiply 5.0 ).
Multiply’s TOS on Selling and Shopping – source
Multiply allows users who comply with this Agreement and our policies to offer, sell and buy goods and services via the Website. We are not directly involved in any transaction between buyers and sellers. As a result, Multiply has no control over the quality, safety, morality or legality of any aspect of the items listed, the truth or accuracy of the listings, the ability of sellers to sell items or the ability of buyers to pay for items, even if the sale and listing of such items is prohibited by this Agreement. As a mere conduit, Multiply does not provide any warranty for the products sold nor guarantee the services being offered by any user. We do not pre-screen users or the content or information provided by users. Therefore, we cannot ensure that any buyer or seller will actually complete a transaction. We cannot guarantee the true identity, age, and nationality of a user. You should communicate directly with your potential transaction partners through the tools available on the Website or otherwise. You may also wish to consider using a third-party escrow service or services that provide additional user verification.
With resourcefulness, creativity and innovative thinking, online social networks such as Multiply have become and will remain a tool for enterprising individuals to make money online.
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Wikipedia. “Social Networking In The Philippines“. May 6, 2009.