Mulu.me is a social sharing and shopping app that allows users to curate their favorite content from all over the web. If that were all that the app did it would be unremarkable, as there are other applications that offer similar functions. However, Mulu.me has added three features that make it stand out from the crowd. First, each time a user buys a recommendation, or “pick”, Mulu gets an affiliate income fee from the sale. Mulu then splits the income 50/50. Half goes to them. Half goes to the user—or to a cause the user supports, which is the real point of the site: the ability to support wells in Sudan or animal shelters by virtue of the user’s tastes and preferences for just about anything one can think of.
Mulu.me was created in January of 2012 by Amaryllis Fox. It is young enough that it is still largely being billed as a Pinterest clone. However, several celebrities have taken up with Mulu.me, including Zooey Deschanel, Toni Collette and Pete Wentz. The fact that stars are getting on-board and sharing their favorite fashions, cosmetics, and products has gotten Mulu.me a lot of attention, so things look promising for the app’s future.
There are four features of Mulu.me that help to separate it from other e-commerce apps. The first is the ability to buy directly from photographs posted on Mulu. Mulu’s most direct competitor is Pinterest, which merely allows users to post photographs and arrange them into lists on intricate virtual pinboards, without so much as an obligation to post a link. The second difference is the invitation to choose a charity and raise money for that charity simply by curating products and sharing interests. Users can earn money for themselves, too, but Mulu has a definite social focus and will appeal to those who want to do real good in the world, since even a few cents of revenue from millions of users has an impact. Finally, Mulu lets users ask each other questions which are then answered with product recommendations, creating a heightened social element to the app.
The look and feel of the app is one of its problems. New users are treated to an array of dozens of product pictures that can be very confusing: one would be forgiven for, at first, mistaking Mulu.me for a spam site. If the user can get past feeling overwhelmed Mulu is very easy to use. Scrolling over a product’s picture will offer up more information. A user can click on the picture to get anything else the original user had to say about it. Clicking on the picture once more takes the user to a website where the product may be bought, earning a commission for both Mulu and the curator. The user can click on a curator’s name to find out the name of a charity the curator supports, or whether the curator happens to be taking the pay, thus making decisions about who to buy from as well as what to buy.
Users can go through the longer process of creating a login with their e-mail account, but Mulu.me offers the much easier integrated Facebook registration as well. Either way users will be instructed to create a unique password and a brief bio. Mulu then asks for the user’s interests in order to customize what they see. Finally, users are asked if they would like to curate for a cause or if they’d like to earn money for themselves. If a user wants to help a cause they can select a single charity from an extensive list.
The application is free to use.
Those who want to do social good in a way that's fun will enjoy Mulu.me. So will those who are already engaged in various forms of product sharing. Those who have fun simply "window shopping" around the internet might get the most mileage out of this app.