One of the greatest benefits of my job is that I get to meet so many people who work in cool startups, which means I get to discover all the latest and greatest apps and services. Checkthis is the latest in a long list of discoveries I’ve made via friends on the Internet.
What is Checkthis?
Checkthis has been described as “between nothing and a blog“ and “somewhere between Twitter and Tumblr.” I’d say Checkthis is almost a hybrid of Tumblr and Storify. The service describes itself as “a digital storytelling platform” where you can create “social posters” and, after giving it a test run, that’s definitely the most fitting description.
Have you ever wanted to create a cool looking poster to:
- Promote an event?
- Share a job posting?
- Sell something?
- Tell a story?
Checkthis helps you do all of these things, and with brilliant simplicity (and no design skills necessary). You simply use a template, and add text, images (from Instagram or Flickr), video (YouTube, Vimeo, Vine), maps, sound (Soundcloud, Spotify, Bandcamp), tweets, and links. You can also add a payment option to your poster via Paypal, as well as a poll.
The themes are simple and different enough to give a personalized feel to your poster. You can upload your own background images, and change colors within themes for an endless variety of looks.
But the content is only part of the story here. Checkthis allows you to share your poster via Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Google+, as well as via a link. It also provides a real-time social stream on the same page as your poster, including comments, Twitter mentions, Facebook likes, votes on polls, and number of pageviews. It also notifies you if your poster is “on fire” or has been featured on the Explore page. Your poster becomes “on fire” if it receives 100 views, or ten social shares or votes.
One word that comes up consistently in press surrounding Checkthis, and even in their own marketing, is “frictionless.” Checkthis doesn’t require a login to create a poster. If you want to go back and edit your poster later, you can register with just an email address and a password, or connect via Facebook, Twitter or Google. Even without registering, you still have the same abilities to share your poster across the web.
What are the use cases for Checkthis?
One of the first things that came to mind when I saw this is how useful it would be for student organizations and individuals without websites who need something visually appealing to share on social networking sites. Within my team, we are continually called on to create landing pages for one-off events, and Checkthis just did away with the need for that.
This is also a phenomenal opportunity for small businesses to promote sales, new products and events. Share your posters on your Facebook page and you’re good to go!
Checkthis offers four categories for posters: Tell, Sell, Ask, and Invite. These categories (I hope) are fairly self-explanatory, but I will give you some examples just in case.
Want to sell something and not use Craigslist? If you have a Paypal account, you can even have the buyer pay directly through Checkthis. (Sell)
What if you’re with a band who is doing its own promotion? Crank out a poster promoting your next show, or all the shows for the next month, and share it all over the web. You can even include a video of your hottest live set. (Tell/Sell/Invite)
Have a job opening and want to create your own help-wanted ad, and not pay the price to put it on a site like LinkedIn, but want to keep it off Craigslist? (Tell/Sell)
Want to ask a silly/funny/interesting question and add a graphic? (Ask)
Want to share a playlist, complete with videos for every track? (Tell)
Or do you just want to share something awesome, like Hipster Animal drawings? (Tell)
The possibilities are truly endless.
I would love to see Checkthis add the ability to embed posters into WordPress. I would also like to be able to search for posters by topic (music, jobs, event recaps, etc.). This would help design-challenged individuals like myself get inspiration from what others have done when creating posters for similar uses.
Who is behind Checkthis and how do they plan on making money?
Checkthis was born in Belgium in 2011 and was one of four teams to win Seedcamp London in early 2012. Founder and CEO Frederic della Faille moved the company to the Soho neighborhood of New York City in the summer of 2012 and is now up to nine employees. The company received $910,000 in seed funding last summer, led by Lerer Ventures.
The founders of Checkthis vow that their service will always be free, but down the road there may be charges (similar to eBay) for classified ads. In addition, you may be able to pay to promote your page to drive more traffic. As della Faille puts it, the site and user “will make money together.“
Checkthis is currently only available on the web, but look for an iPhone app coming soon. Request an invite here.
Have any ideas for how you can use Checkthis? Share in the comments.
Special thanks to Jeff Carrol, Community Manager for Checkthis, for turning me on to the service and answering my many questions.