OpenSky, the new brands-to-bloggers social commerce network headed up by John Caplan (former chief exective Ford Models, CMO About.com) and Ted Rubin (former ELF CMO) has raised an additional $6m funding, taking total funding to $11m.
OpenSky, soft-launched earlier this year with an all-star board of directors (Scott Kurnit, Bob Davis and Daniel Ciporin), is an innovative social commerce business that helps brands make and manage commercial relationships with bloggers who endorse their products and services.
Specifically, OpenSky allows brands to sell through bloggers, by providing bloggers with a storefront to sell through. OpenSky works both as agent – introducing brands to bloggers and vice-versa – and as turnkey e-commerce solutions provider; all brands need to do is provide inventory, and all bloggers needs to do is endorse the product. It’s a sort of distributed Amazon, but with a more attractive proposition for bloggers when compared to traditional affiliate programs – bloggers get 50% of profit on each sale.
In practice, bloggers signing up to OpenSky sell from an evolving OpenSky listing of branded products/services – but have the opportunity to suggest new items. And unlike affiliate programs, there is no seamless integration into the blogger’s site – OpenSky storefronts currently cannot be embedded into or sites but are hosted on a separate blogname.theopenskyproject.com site.
It’ll be interesting to see how the OpenSky brands-to-bloggers network evolves: One build would be embeddable OpenSky storefronts for top social media platforms, and another might be to offer a simplified, stripped down version for brand fans to sell on social networks – much like Domino’s Pizza is doing in the UK.