TinyPay.Me is one of the smartest ideas in e-commerce I have seen in 2010. The service is super easy to use, set up in less than a minute and enables you to sell basically anything you want, receiving payments via PayPal.
At LeWeb in Paris the team launched the latest version of the service which includes the option to set up a marketplace. And here things are getting very interesting.
Unfortunately I don’t have the time to set one up on my own, therefore I will “open source” the idea as my Christmas gift! I really hope someone amongst my readers will give it a try, George and the Edupunk come to my mind.
Anyway, here is the plan. TinyPay.Me enables the creator to invite others to sell their items on the marketplace. The commission for the TinyPay.Me marketplace is between 5% and 50%, depending on how much commission the creator decides that he / she would like to earn on the sold items which can be anything from 0% up to 35%. The rest, 15% to 95%, goes to the individual sellers on the marketplace.
Now, I could imagine two use cases for online education. One would be a marketplace for lesson material, lesson plans, tests, exercises etc. hence a more teacher targeting approach. As there are already some websites out there where teachers can sell their material to other teachers I am pretty sure that there is a growing market for that. You could either build something based upon age groups as verticals or subject matters, there are a lot of possible combinations.
The second opportunity I see is a marketplace for live online lessons. As you can sell virtual goods via TinyPay.Me teachers could offer individual lessons or lesson packages just like on the marketplaces and platforms we all know. The interesting part here would be that the marketplace itself would not interfere with the actual teaching part. Student and teacher would sort out where, when and how to meet on their own.
As the service itself is hosted by TinyPay.Me and the payment process handled by PayPal there are virtually no costs for the creator. Therefore the commission could be kept pretty low, allowing teachers to earn more from their lessons.
The other interesting thing is that the creator and the invited teachers are a real, naturally grown community. The creator has to invite teachers to join the marketplace and therefore there could be a mechanism implemented that allows all people who take part in the marketplace to decide together what the prices should be like, who will be invited to join etc.
This would lead to more trust amongst the teachers, more trust for potential buyers and better and easier regulation mechanisms for the creator of the marketplace. TinyPay.Me is also seamlessly integrated in the major social networks which will help to spread the word. Maybe not that interesting for a live teaching marketplace but for a lesson material market this should be ideal as teachers are using social media massively to connect with each other.
There you have it. I think it’s more than worth trying it out. If you do, please drop me a note so I can help promoting it and of course I am there to give you some more input. You will need to apply for an invitation but I am pretty sure that education based marketplaces will get one easily.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!