My latest online obsession has been with the site TheFancy.com which is a social photo sharing website and app created by Joseph Einhorn. The Fancy describes itself as “part store, blog, magazine and wish list” that tries to connect its users through shared tastes and the “things” they find interesting. All of this is brought to life through their web site, iPad and iPhone apps that let you browse the items and collect them into your own catalog by Fancying them. But this new obsession has quickly developed in to a love / hate relationship and here’s why…
TheFancy.com web site has a similar feel to Pinterest and their iOS apps are well designed, easy to browse and a model I wish Pinterest would follow for their apps. I love the site because it does a fantastic job of collecting a lot of really interesting and well designed products I have never seen before all in one place. That is quite a feat since I am constantly searching site, magazines and trade shows for these types of products for my personal and professional life. I have a similar love affair with Fab.com and in both cases it is because I like having it curated all in one place instead having to hunt for it on sites like Pinterest.
The agony of TheFancy.com and their iOS apps is that I repeatedly see things I really love and those things are shown as being for sale with a price in the upper left hand corner that appears when you roll over the photo. My frustration and agony repeatedly happens when I click on the item, wanting to buy it, and the vast majority of the time I find that the item they are showing isn’t really for sale at all. The term ‘bait and switch’ has come to mind more than once and it really destroys my experience and perception of the site. What makes it worse is that you only know there has been a switch if you read the item description as the huge image and page header are still listing the item you are interested in. The difference comes to light in the item description where the first line will say “Try this __________ instead”. My frustration gets even deeper when you look at their proposed alternate item and the vast majority of the time it doesn’t come close to the original lacking the design, style and craftsmanship that drew me to the original item in the first place. Take the screenshot above as an example where they are showing knives by CUT Brooklyn which makes beautiful handmade chef’s knives that run into the hundreds of dollars because of their craftsmanship but instead they are trying to sell me on a crappy $20 Chicago Cutlery knife instead. This like getting me in the showroom by putting a Ferrari in the window and then when I walk in you try to sell me a used Yugo.
TheFancy.com needs to decide if they are going to become a competitor of Fab.com by strengthening their partnerships and fixing their shopping experience or compete with Pinterest.com by becoming a curated content site. Right now they are trying to walk the line between the two and are paying the price in the form of a really frustrating bait and switch user experience.