Similar in many ways to Hollrr, the site where consumers help promote the products they love, Thinglink is a new global catalogue for design that enables designers, brands and enthusiasts to connect and converse on the web.
Currently in invitation-only beta, Thinglink launched at the Milan Furniture Fair in April with 10 design brands: Arabia Finland, Design Eero Aarnio, Fokus Fabrik, Helsinki Design Week, Iittala, Harri Koskinen, Martela, Selki Station, Ilmari Tapiovaara Design and Woodnotes. Designers and brands can use the site by uploading their catalogues and building a community of fans around their products. Enthusiasts, meanwhile, can use the free service to post messages about their latest design discoveries, flag products they own, ask and answer questions about new and vintage products, and share photos of their favourite design objects in real-life settings. The Thinglink catalogue includes a wide variety of products from classic and contemporary designers and manufacturers, ranging from serially produced products to limited edition items and unique one-of-a-kind objects; on Thinglink, any of them can become the center of a conversation, with photos and discussion by owners and fans.
Besides giving enthusiasts a place to connect and learn more about the brands they love, of course, California-based Thinglink also gives brands a way to keep tabs on consumers' impressions of them. Next step? Do more than just create conversation and actually put consumers to work for the brand—tapping into their design suggestions or their grassroots marketing muscle. Ask the crowds, and ye shall receive—just make sure to thank them in kind! ;-) (Related: Consumers get paid for input on new products.)