For many creators, giving something away for free on the Internet has always been a relatively easy task. The challenge comes with selling enough of one’s work to make a decent living. Current traditional systems in place, such as PayPal and even Amazon, are clunky and difficult to navigate at times; especially during the checkout process. A seller might get in-depth information on rankings, total units sold, money earned; but the crucial factor missing is the information connecting that seller to the people most responsible for their livelihood – customers.
Gumroad, a startup for selling digital goods, was founded by Sahil Lavignia when he was only 19 years old. The second employee and first designer hired at Pinterest, Lavignia left that prestigious position behind and was intent on building a product that would seamlessly allow filmmakers, musicians, authors, artists, designers, developers, and other creators to sell work directly to their fans.
By cutting out the middleman, he built a tool that not only makes it simple to sell online goods, he has returned power to those who need it the most to thrive. With access to email information and proper communication tools, a seller can contact her customers to follow up with product updates, ask for feedback, and build lasting relationships. Starting today, Gumroad is bringing their experience to the iPhone, allowing users to easily consume the goods they purchase on their mobile devices.
The folks at San Francisco-based Gumroad believe that direct distribution, served up in an intuitive interface, is the future of commerce. They may be right. 10,000 creators have distributed over 150,000 products in the past 18 months. Quite a few, including Kyle Webster and Nathan Barry have surpassed the six-figure earnings mark. An additional incentive for using Gumroad is the fact that they take a much smaller cut (5% + 25 cents) compared to other online retailers. Add in a strategic partnership with Twitter and this small startup may be poised to take on the biggest marketplaces around.
Anyone who downloads Gumroad’s mobile app can expect 8,000 films + videos; 35,000 books + comics; and 15,000 music products that are mobile-ready. An Android version is coming soon. And for those in the San Francisco Bay Area, author and Gumroad creator Chris Guillebeau will be conducting a reading at Booksmith in the Haight for his recent New York Times best-seller The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life.
Read the entire announcement, from the CEO, on Gumroad’s official blog here.