Social Shopping Site OpenSky Starts Over

By Kenna McHugh Comment

The last time I posted about OpenSky was in April when it re-launched from an affiliate site promoting 5,000 bloggers’ products to a celebrity site promoting a handful of celebrity recommended products.

CEO John Caplan had decided to start over with a slightly different concept dealing with “a social network for commerce.” Today, OpenSky curates 50 celebrities from chefs like Bobby Flay and Tom Colicchio to supermodel Veronica Webb.

OpenSky has grown since the change without any marketing efforts. In a time space of a few weeks or more, the site holds 200,000 members and one million unique visitors. Those members have created 800,000 connections; they follow on average 4 curators each. Tailoring 50 notable curators instead of 5,000 bloggers, the site is selling hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of product each week.

The celebrities choose the item they want to recommend to their dedicated followers, and then OpenSky packages the products via the manufacturers. Followers can buy products often with a nice discount.

Bobby Flay seems to be the main focus of the site’s success. With 60,000 followers, Flay likes to recommend items that include a mortar and pestle, a chopping block and Viking immersion hand blender. Many of followers arrived via his Twitter account, where Flay holds 294,000 followers and links his OpenSky items. The profit is split 50/50 with OpenSky.

Caplan made a smart move when he decided to change his format. Hooking up with Flay, who is a television and foodie celebrity, played an enormous part in sending the re-launch into the stratosphere of success.