Got-Zip.com is attempting a wholly-odd way to attract investors. I mean affiliates. Frankly, I'm not sure what they are. They call it GeoAffiliate Marketing and in a nutshell they pay commissions by zip code and territory. Territories which affiliates are required to pay rent on to maintain their claim and interests, essentially making them something between a speculator and an investor.
Commissions are paid on sales made through their custom homepage and web portal, Pagellan.com and other partnered eStores on their network. Any commissions that are not trackable by location are divided up among the group as a whole. In some ways it sounds very cool, but like any new idea I'm a bit wary. "Wait and see" sounds like a good idea, but by the time the results are in, opportunity is gone. On the other hand, there is not a lot of technical information for a savvy investor to really make an informed decision. There's a lot of general info but pretty much signing up looks like a leap of faith to me.
Their basic concept is that their affiliates can generate sales through word-of-mouth and get people in their area to switch their homepage over to Pagellan. Since there are no affiliate codes to track, entire new worlds of opportunities would seem to be opening. Of course, while this breaks new ground in that way, it simultaneously is breaking new ground by actually charging affiliates for the right to collect commissions.
Although that caveat could be likened to a dividend system for corporate shareholders, with the primary difference being that shareholders pay once and own part of the company. Got-Zip affiliates rent their territories, but the owner (who comes across as very sincere) insists upon making sure none of his affiliates lose money. He's got a money-back guarantee where if someone cancels their account their territory will be auctioned off, and if no one buys the spot after 60 days the affiliate will just get a plain old refund.
It's certainly an interesting idea, essentially keeping the company's marketing and sales functions entirely centralized and capitalizing on the capital of their affiliates rather than their ingenuity, as more traditional (read: ever other) affiliate programs do. I guess it all comes down to whether or not they've got a solid business plan. There simply is not a lot of information on their site regarding specifics.
The owner explains the general idea of his business by likening it to Yahoo! — he does make it clear he's not claiming to be the next Yahoo!, but follows up that clarification with a tease about "what if we were?"
I dunno. Weird is weird but while I don't know if I'd jump on board that ship I do think it is very cool in concept. These days everyone is blathering on about Web 2.0 and that's cool too but on sheer innovation I've got to give the trophy to this guy. Now where did I put my Pets.com stock certificates?