Wander, the ‘Utterly Pointless Leaderboard’ and the Most Ridiculous Marketing Strategy Ever

No, that's not hyperbole.

Remember when Hipster.com launched with a splash page and some incentives to tweet or whatever, and it went totally viral before no one even knew what it was? (We still don’t know!) Well, New York-based Wander has done them one better, soaring to new heights of social media insanity with a completely baseless viral marketing campaign. Already it’s been endorsed by @FAKEGRIMLOCK and Chris Messina and blogged about by Wired. What is it? “Love the typography on Wander…! Curious what this site will be about… did you reserve your username yet?” Mr. Messina wrote on Google+.

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The “incentiveless” sign-up process (in the words of Wander’s co-founder and CEO Jeremy Fisher, formerly of Dinevore) consists of a splash page and a leaderboard.

The splash page:




Users are then encouraged to spread the word: 100 points for every tweet or Facebook share and 50 points for everyone who clicks your link. The points go up on the self-proclaimed “Utterly Pointless Leaderboard.” It’s pure gamification. “Get tons of amazing points!” Wander tells us. (The background of onwander.com is an ambiguous, blurry picture of a car and a skateboarder: this photo was submitted by a user. Users are encouraged to submit their own photos to be used as Wander’s splash page (a second gimmick! We can’t count ’em all!) by a discreet link at the bottom right.)

The splash page went up Thursday, Mr. Fisher said. Users have already racked up more than 1 billion points, according to Wander (assuming no one hacked the leaderboard).

Is Wander, unencumbered by a product, the perfect brand? Or just evidence that we’re all sheep?

How many signups? we asked Mr. Fisher.

“A lot,” he said.

Like, more than Hipster, which got 10,000 signups in two days?

“Our viral coefficient is significantly higher, as is our conversion rate,” he said. “Similar number of signups, but achieved with substantially less traffic.”

Mr. Fisher has been working on something since August, after Dinevore fizzled and he started recruiting for a new project. “We’ve been hard at work on some really exciting new stuff—the evolution of Dinevore, if you will,” he said at the time, in an email to Dinevore users that was just as fuzzy as Wander. “And now we’re hiring. We’re not looking for rockstars or ninjas or jedis or any of that. Just great people with vision and killer ideas and the ability to execute on them. Drop us a line if you think we could use your skills. Make sure to include something to get us interested. NYC-based is ideal, but not essential.”

The team now has four members, Mr. Fisher told Betabeat. But he refused to say much more.

Betabeat: what is it?
Jeremy: What is what?
Betabeat: what is wander
what is wander, jeremy
are you punking everyone
Jeremy: Wander is all about the places that capture your imagination.
Betabeat: so it is a product?
Jeremy: Very much so. We will be releasing more info soon.
Betabeat: how soon?
Jeremy: I’d say, but I don’t want to ruin the surprise

Wander, the ‘Utterly Pointless Leaderboard’ and the Most Ridiculous Marketing Strategy Ever