The iTunes App Store got another offering to the ratings gods today. This one in the form of Stamped, a New York-based startup which boasts two Xooglers as co-founders, Bart Stein and Robby Stein (
possible relations? Ed note: We’ve received word from Stamped’s PR team that their last name is merely coincidental), and more Xooglers within its seven-person team.
When TechCrunch first reported on the app back in September, MG Siegler (in his pre-VC days—how quaint!) salivated over Stamped’s simplicity, which boils recommendations down to whether or not you’d send something to your friends with a stamp of approval. At the time, Mr. Siegler compared Stamped to Instagram when “Simplicity and speed won the day.”
In a post today, Erick Schonfeld compares it more to Oink, Kevin Rose’s app, which also lets you rate things on a granular level (a dinner entree, say, rather than a restaurant), except in a more structured way since Stamped lets your filter your recommendation stream by restaurants, books, movies, and music, rather than Oink’s “free form hashtags. ”
The value of a stamp is kept intact by starting users off with only 100 stamps. They can earn more by being active users and “like” something if it’s not a whole-hearted recommendation. The more you rate things, the better it knows your interests.
The app sounds utilitarian, looks pretty, and seems to address a problem outlined in this recent article about how frictionless sharing drowns out the signal with noise. But our skepticism has to do with some of the issues Stamped brings up in its promotional video, namely that there are already so many apps and sites one needs to find recommendations from friends and strangers. Until we see how many “friends” opt in, it will be hard to tell if Stamped is a signal, or adding to the noise.