This is getting reallyinteresting.
When Bling Nation announced atie-up with PayPal, we saw it as a potential breakout strategy forBling – a means for them to go viral in a way their originaltown-by-town, bank-by-bank model could never reach. The fact thatthe integration between the Bling platform and PayPal was builtusing PayPal’s standard Adaptive Payments API just affirms thestrength of PayPal’s offering.
And how nimble Bling canbe.
Now, Facebook employees aregetting BlingTags – contactless RFID tags that connect to theconsumer’s PayPal account or to their DDA. BlingTags are acceptedby a number of Palo Alto merchants, at Stanford University, andeven by the city for paying parking tickets and other fees. WhileBling was originally staying away from markets where the giantretail banks roam, the company has clearly decided that theinnovation culture in its neighborhood can give it some hometownadvantage.
Now, there are rumorscirculating that PayPal, Google, Apple, and other Silicon Valleypowerhouses are looking at an NFC ecosystem in the Valley. We’vecertainly heard the rumor that the iPhone 5 (or whatever it’ll becalled), expected in June 2011, will have NFC capability.Facebook’s also rumored to have a phone in the works. Obviously,Google has Android and all the handsets that it supports. And NFCis an important technology for payments and security via the mobilehandset. No wonder these giant, non-traditional players areintrigued.
At the very least, usingBling Nation and its tags gives each of these giant companiesexperience with contactless payments in advance of handsets withembedded NFC capability. That’s worth a lot. In no time at all,Bling Nation could have the most active contactless tag footprintin the country, using a payment method that basically goes aroundthe card networks.
For you online marketers, bythe way, Bling Nation has abandoned its standard web site for aFacebook-based site. If you type in blingnation.com, you’reredirected to the facebook.com/blingnation site. That’s an “all in”endorsement of social networking for businesses.