by Dan Nystedt

E-Commerce: Shop While You Blog

Nov 01, 20052 mins
BPM Systems

One of Taiwan’s largest mobile telecom operators is launching a website that puts a new twist on blogging and opens the possibility for some real-world e-commerce down the road.

Taiwan’s FarEasTone Telecommunications hopes its PlayBlog website will entice people into creating blogs by allowing them to create digital versions of themselves that can try on clothes and buy furniture. If users like what they see, they may eventually be able to buy the real thing.

Opening a blog account on the site is free. Users can assume a fictional image or upload a photo that gets converted into a digital caricature of themselves. The caricature can be given different hairstyles, noses and more before it’s placed on a “name card” that appears on the user’s homepage. That part of the service is also free. There’s a charge, however, to fit the caricature with new clothes or create a furnished apartment.

FarEasTone has created a new subsidiary, FarEasTron, to run PlayBlog.

In the future, FarEasTron plans to work with fashion businesses to sell real clothing at the site, because users will have a chance to see how they look in a certain style before making purchases, says Frank Sun, a manager at the company.

Users are also invited to buy a virtual house for their blog and to add furniture—all of which would be displayed to blog visitors. Furniture sales via the Internet are another way that FarEasTron might work with businesses in the future, Sun says.

But the point of PlayBlog is to let users experience a different lifestyle in the virtual world and to have fun, he says. The company has no definite time frame in mind for when it plans to begin selling real-world articles.