June 21, 2011, 9:21 AM

Copious Launches a Social Commerce Marketplace

New company enables buyers and sellers to view each other through the lens of their networks.

SAN FRANCISCO -- June 15, 2011 -- Copious, a new social commerce company focused on introducing greater transparency, more relevance, and deeper relationships into the process of buying and selling online, today announced the beta launch of its marketplace at Copious.com. The marketplace makes use of authenticated identity and other features to help buyers and sellers understand more about each other, and to help sellers more effectively showcase their expertise. It also introduces a number of new social mechanics around pricing, following, and sharing to help buyers discover new products and help sellers drive conversions. Copious is now open to buyers and select sellers.  “We think marketplaces are ripe for transformation, and we think that transformation will begin with the introduction of authenticated identity as a core part of the experience,” said Jonathan Ehrlich, co-founder and COO at Copious. “Building around real identity means no more anonymous transactions between aliases, no more sifting through reviews from equally anonymous third-parties, and no more recommendations based solely on what you’ve bought in the past. We’re creating a marketplace for the Facebook era, with an experience that’s organized around people first, products second.”The first version of the Copious marketplace is built on a number of key elements:

  • Authenticated identity, enabled by Facebook Connect: All buyers and sellers on Copious are linked to their Facebook identities, adding a new layer of authenticity, transparency, and trust to transactions. For example, buyers can see whether anyone in their networks has purchased, shared, or commented on an item from a specific seller. They can also see more information about a seller, rather than just anonymous aliases or profiles.
  • The “Copious signal”: Using a proprietary set of signals, Copious enables sellers to more effectively showcase their expertise to buyers. Examples of information presented to buyers include not just the seller’s previous transaction history and buyer feedback on Copious, but also, as the platform develops, the seller’s presence on and participation in social media platforms like Twitter; other marketplaces like eBay; relevant product forums; personal blogs; and more.
  • A set of social and viral mechanics: During launch week, Copious will also introduce a number of new social and viral mechanics to help sellers drive conversions and awareness. Examples include a social pricing mechanic that enables a seller to offer buyers discounts for sharing listings into their Facebook networks, and a following mechanic that enables sellers to offer buyers discounts for following them on Copious (which in turn creates a direct connection between the seller and the buyer).
  • A new approach to fees, payments, and more: Copious features a streamlined two-step listing process for sellers, and does not have a listing fee. Sellers will instead be charged a flat transaction fee of 10 percent (discounted to 3.5 percent for a limited time following launch). Copious also serves as an intermediary on all transactions in the marketplace, ensuring that sellers are paid and that buyers receive their merchandise.

The Copious marketplace is launching with a select group of sellers, focused initially on the handbags category and featuring sellers like eBags, Malababa, Ritzy Ragz, and more. New categories will be opened up in the days immediately following launch.Copious was founded in January 2011 by former Mobshop CEO Jim Rose, Critical Path VP of mobile strategy Rob Zuber, and former Facebook head of marketing Jonathan Ehrlich. The company has raised $2 million in seed funding, and their investors include Foundation Capital, Google Ventures, BlackBerry Partners Fund, and a number of Facebook angels. They are headquartered in San Francisco.

Copious is a social marketplace for buying from and selling to real people, not strangers. The company was founded in January 2011 by former Mobshop CEO Jim Rose, former Critical Path VP of mobile strategy Rob Zuber, and former Facebook head of marketing Jonathan Ehrlich, with backing from Foundation Capital, Google Ventures, BlackBerry Partners Fund, and a number of well-known angels, including several former Facebook executives.

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