There's nothing more satisfying than tracking down an item online that you've been lusting after for weeks--and bonus points if it's on sale. That's the appeal of The Hunt, a crowdsourcing platform that unleashes the power of the Internet to help you find clothes, housewares, and other lifestyle items. If it can be seen and purchased, The Hunt's community of seekers will find it for you.
How it works: When you see a photo online of a must-have outfit, piece of furniture, etc., you can start a hunt by posting it to the platform. The community's experts will scour the Internet to find that exact item or comparable ones, if you're seeking something cheaper. The Hunt has become insanely popular among young women, and its more than 3.5 million users are submitting 90 percent of the site's answers from their smartphones. People are spending 12--14 minutes a day in the app with the intent to buy something.
The company released version 3.0 of its iOS and Android apps on Monday with a new look and features like upvoting and saving the answers that actually solve your hunt. Before the update, if you liked an answer, you could "gem" it, but there was no way to separate out which answers actually solved the hunt.
"Instead of simply saying it's a good answer, when you want to buy something, you save it, you upvote it," The Hunt CEO Tim Weingarten told Macworld. "We wanted to separate out those signals so we could improve our machine-learning algorithms so we can make recommendations for products. We know what you want to buy."
Weingarten envisions The Hunt becoming the ultimate in retail recommendations. Hunts are tagged with keywords, and eventually the app will push you the best answers for each tag, so you can potentially buy them. Brands will soon be able to get in on the action by submitting and promoting their own answers. The Hunt is also working on gamification, so community members can be commended for their expertise at solving particular kinds of hunts.
The app is currently fashion-centric, with 80 percent of hunts based on clothing, but The Hunt has the potential to appeal to a broader audience.
But don't expect to hunt for products on your Apple Watch, Weingarten said.
"We're taking more of a wait-and-see approach," he said. "Our experience is fairly immersive. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus with larger screens are more appropriate."