Lead selling is a dirty business that might just be the second oldest profession.
In the good old days, someone looking to buy something might ask a friend for a recommendation. The friend would recommend a supplier he knows and would get something back in return – maybe a reciprocal recommendation to another customer or at least a pint of ale down the pub. The friend making the recommendation would not make it lightly and would consider it a matter of personal honour that his recommendation must do a good job and he’d feel responsible if he didn’t.
Fast forward to today and we have ‘trusted’ marketplaces popping up all over the place. Someone looking to buy put’s their requirement on the marketplace and the marketplace finds someone to do the job.
But there’s a problem.
Unlike the personal nature of recommendations, these marketplaces send the leads only to those suppliers that pay. It doesn’t matter how amazing a supplier might be – if they don’t pay they get introduced to the buyer.
I think that’s a terrible proposition for the buyer. That’s why at Bark we don’t charge suppliers to talk to our buyers. We let them do it for free.
So how do we make money? Well, Bark might be the first marketplace to utilize a Freemium business model. Suppliers can get involved for free but we’ve got a menu of things that suppliers can pay for. For example, a seller can get verified so that we can confirm to buyers that we know they are who they say they are. They can get early bird access to leads – to give them more time to respond. And they can chose to ‘go pro’ which means their pitches to the buyer and highlighted.
They key thing is that this is all transparent to the buyer. The buyer can see who’s paid and who hasn’t but he can consider the responses from everyone. In this way Bark is a truly open system for introducing buyers and sellers without the major conflict of interests suffered by trusted marketplaces.