Anyone can now have an online store with, a simple link shortener service. Links can be shared on social networks, which could become a peer-to-peer marketplace.

Links to revolutionize peer-to-peer e-commerce?


In what may be the most minimal e-commerce experience yet, Gumroad lets anyone have their own online store consisting of a link. The service essentially circumvents peer commerce sites like eBay or Etsy, and its payment system relies on PayPal. Relying on social network integration to provide traffic and customers, Gumroad provides a link shortener that connects to whatever the user wants to sell - they can upload an image or other type of file, or connect to a URL for some other type of product. Founder Sahil Lavingia created this site specifically for creative people to have a place that they could easily monetize work that might otherwise be unpublished.

Gumroad provides users with a simple product and payment interface

The former Pinterest and Turntable designer came up with the idea after working on a Photoshop file for hours, which did not end up getting used for a project. Lavingia realized that he had plenty of Twitter followers who were designers, and it was possible that some of them might want to purchase the PSD file for their own use. “That's when I realized it is really hard to make money on the Internet. I envisioned a link service like, with a credit card form in-between," Lavingia said. That is how the finished product ended up - a product page with a payment form, which is sent to Gumroad, then deposited in the user’s account monthly, less a service cut.

Links can be embedded anywhere, including mobile

Gumroad’s simplicity could have a huge influence on e-commerce. Its main interface element - the link - is such a flexible tool that can be integrated into blogs or sites easily. Even more significantly, the link enables an online store for individuals who do not even have a blog or website. Facebook and Twitter integration creates a home for these links that is the most democratic of all. Additionally, links are very mobile-friendly, and with smartphone ownership becoming the norm, we can expect significant growth potential for online purchasing that is vendor and app independent.

By Ivory King