Friday, December 9, 2011

Why GiftRocket’s business model is broken

Yesterday I have visited GiftRocket’s site, trying to find out how they operate and what value do they add to (potential) users of their service. At the first glance, the story is simple: person A chooses one business, say a cool new coffee shop, and sends so called "online gift card" to person B. Person A also sends some amount of money alongside the card, say $20, and a personal message to person B. GiftRocket then sends that money via PayPal to person B, and nicely formatted "gift card" which is also called GiftRocket, taking hefty $1 + 5% commission. Finally, person B can then happily spend the money at before mentioned coffee shop. Everything is great, right?

Wrong! The catch is, person B can spend his money any way he wants. He does not have to go to that coffe shop. He can even burn it down, for all GiftRocket cares. The reality is that person A could have done exactely the same thing (sending email + money via PayPal) without GiftRocket, thus saving $1 + 5%! Therefore GiftRocket doesn’t add any value to users whatsoever.

When enough people understand that, they will be out of the business.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

About me (in more detail)

Hi. My name is Ivan Milosavljević. I live in city of Belgrade, Serbia, Europe. I am a software developer, currently working in online (gambling) gaming industry. In my everyday work I use mostly Java, but also HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and ActionScript. Out of work, I learn really nice dynamic language Groovy.

What will I write about

I will try to keep focus as narrow as possible (but not narrower) on technologies mentioned above. However, there will also be posts about software development and computer programming in general, about computer-related books I find interesting, about useful software (mostly, but not necessarily developer tools), about interesting topics in online gaming, and sometimes just about anything that comes into my mind. Posts belonging to last category will be pretty rare though.

A little bit of background

I enjoyed computers as long as I can remember. At the age of 8 my parents gave me Commodore 64, a neat 8-bit, 1 MHz, 64KB RAM machine with external equipment such as tape recorder and handy gadgets called joysticks. During the next 4 or 5 years, despite some serious time invested in playing computer games, I have learned basics of BASIC and even assembly language (which seemed pretty strange to me those days). I have definitely decided to pursue career in software development during college. I have graduated (5 years curriculum, equivalent to master degree) computer science from ETF, the oldest and most respectful university level school for electrical engineering and computer science in Serbia. Back there I have learned a lot about computer organisation and architecture, structured programming, object oriented programming, mathematics, and electronics. Most of my college work was done in languages like Pascal, C, C++, Java, and 80x86 assembly.

After graduating in 2004, I have worked as C++ and Java developer, mostly as contractor. I am currently happily employed at Belgrade branch of GTECH Corporation.

Ways to contact me

I strongly believe that blog is a 2-way communication so feel free to post your comments. I will read every comment, and reply to those I find interesting. If you really need to drop me an email, you can do so at