Selling animal by-products like manure and hot dogs is, of course, not new in the world. People have been making fortunes on various forms of literal shit for a long time. The use of manure dates back to the earliest days of agriculture . In more recent times, a marketing guru had an idea that would seem doomed to fail: let people send a box of horse shit to anyone, anonymously, by paying with Bitcoin. Quite a dastardly proposal, but worth a try.
When the project began, the CEO of ShitExpress , Peter, wasn’t ready for anything. He had no product on hand, no estimate on the cost of shipping, and no idea if the whole thing would be profitable or not, supposing any orders actually came through. Worse yet, he had no one willing to help him in his shitty quest.
What if someone placed an order? How to proceed? Where to get horse poop in this city? What about suitable, yet affordable packaging? […] The only one thing I was able to do from March to October was to ask a few friends, living close to farms and stables, if they were willing to do all the packaging and shipping for me. Of course, everybody was surprised by the idea, but nobody actually wanted to get involved.
The idea of using Bitcoin was based on the notion that many people would want to use the service to prank their friends and family during the holidays and on birthdays and such. Or as a way of sending a message to enemies.
This is a project which would never take off without the help of some free marketing. Using Reddit and Twitter and various sites which can drive traffic for free, the quirky marketing proposal began to take off when major tech website Motherboard wrote about it, the author actually taking a video of receiving the shit. This helped in another way: people were sure that the project was real, which certainly must have attributed to more of the orders actually being completed. (One of the things Peter noticed was that many people would fill out all the relevant details but not actually complete the order by sending payment.)
It is sad to note that it was not until adding Paypal as a payment option did the project really take off. It is hard to say why people began placing orders at a higher rate with Paypal than Bitcoin, but one reason might be that we value our Bitcoin more than we value shit.
PayPal is still way better payment option than Bitcoin. At least for such a non-technical product that could be sold globally. People literally told me they don’t care about anonymity that much. Christmas is coming and many consider this an ideal gift. They just want to make a quick purchase the way they are used to pay for stuff on the web.
Another thing to be said here is that anonymity is not the primary drive behind using Bitcoin, although it might have been for certain elements of the dark web. There are still legal implications for the vendor no matter what’s being bought or sold when anonymity is sold as part of the package. Since a pissed-off shit-receiver might not be able to get at the person who sent them shit, they might just go after ShitExpres with legal action, which could set a shitty precedent!
In any case, ShitExpress proves once again that the scientific marketing maxim that anything is sellable with the right marketing is still true – after all, this guy is selling horse manure to non-farmers, and apparently to the tune of more than 26BTC just last month.
What do you think about ShitExpress? Comment below!
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