Buddy Gift Service Launches Operations for Online Friends

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Historically, online acquaintances with a desire to protect personal information have been limited to sending and receiving virtual gifts -- such as e-cards -- in lieu of more substantial offerings because the transaction process could lead to a disclosure of private information, such as the physical mailing address of one or both parties. Buddy Gift Service has changed all that.

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Coming soon will be the Buddy Gift Concierge Service where customers will be able to specify products from other sites and our customer service representatives will work with the buyer to fulfill the request

Oftentimes, the best ideas are borne of necessity. Such was the case with BuddyGift.com, an online gift store that recently opened for business.

Owner William Sherman developed the service site after chatting with an online acquaintance for a few weeks, and subsequently coming to the realization that he had no way to send a non-virtual birthday gift without compromising the identity information of both himself and his new friend.

"Then the idea struck me," said Sherman. "Why not make a way?"

And so, http://www.buddygift.com was launched. Instead of virtual gifts -- such as e-cards -- gift-givers who visit Sherman's site have a wide range of options, including long-stem roses, chocolate baskets and spa product packages -- among other choices.

"The Buddy Gift Service's primary function is to protect the identifying information of the recipient from that of the purchaser and vice versa," said Sherman, who started the service during the Second Life International Technology Expo in April. "Buddy Gift does for gifting what PayPal does for financial transactions. The whole purpose is to provide isolation between the parties of the transaction."

The Buddy Gift Service -- which is currently only available in the United States but will likely expand as the site suppliers grow -- is also hoping to expand its product line, and perhaps even partner with companies in other online industries, such as dating sites, virtual 3D worlds, social networking sites and other online portals, Sherman said. These plans are just the beginning of many changes, he said.

"Coming soon will be the Buddy Gift Concierge Service where customers will be able to specify products from other sites and our customer service representatives will work with the buyer to fulfill the request," he said.

In its current form, the service -- simple yet efficient by design -- works as follows: Online customers visit the BuddyGift.com Web store and choose the gift(s) to be sent. During the checkout process, customers simply provide an e-mail address or other online identifier instead of a physical delivery address.

At that point, Buddy Gift Service notifies the potential recipient of the gift that was purchased for them, and directs them to http://www.buddygift.com, where they can either accept or decline the gift. If the receiver accepts the gift, he/she is prompted to privately and securely enter their delivery information so that Buddy Gift Service can make the delivery.

"We place ourselves in the middle of the gift exchange through our patent pending 'Opt-In Gifting' process," explained Sherman. "We do everything possible to protect the identities of both our customer and the intended recipient. Customer names, addresses or any other information will never be made available to anyone other than our partners that participate in fulfilling your order."

About the Buddy Gift Service
Buddy Gift, LLC provides the opportunity for online friends to exchange real gifts while maintaining their privacy. For more information, browse the Buddy Gift Service Web store at http://www.buddygift.com, or call toll free at (888) 99-BUDDYGIFT.

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