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With Given.to wish lists, givers can chip in for a costly present

November 16, 2012|By Salvador Rodriguez
  • With Given.to, people can join forces to buy you presents you want this holiday season.
With Given.to, people can join forces to buy you presents you want this holiday… (Given.to )

Wish lists are a dime a dozen on the Internet, but just because you say you want a $1,000 TV, that doesn't mean someone's going to get it for you.

But Given.to, a start-up that launched this month, wants to ensure you never settle for another bad gift by giving your family and friends the options to contribute only a portion of the cost of the gift you want.

It's like Kickstarter for presents.

This is helpful if you're asking for an expensive gift like a tablet. The concept is that rather than getting you a new tie because no one is going to individually buy you a $500 iPad, your friends and family can contribute to the gift you actually want.

Co-founder McKeever Conwell II told The Times that Given.to came up with this concept two years ago when another of the company's co-founders decided he wanted to get his father an iPad for Christmas.

That co-founder, Michael Washington, told his siblings about his idea for their dad's present and said they could chip in and get it together.

"The hard part was how to collect the money from his siblings," Conwell said.

That caused Washington to think about an easier way to have various people chip in and buy each other presents, and that's what led to Given.to.

You can start using Given.to by heading to the start-up's website and signing up using your Facebook account. After that, you can create a wish list.

Given.to lets you choose from options such as housewarmings, graduations and "something else." Once you have the occasion set, you can search for items to add, or you can import a wish list from Amazon.

When you have all your items in place, you can share your list with friends directly over Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and email. You can also grab a link to paste on any other social network.

If friends want to contribute or buy a gift for you, they can join Given.to and make the contribution there.

The service takes 6% of the contribution, plus a 30-cent transaction fee; about half of the deductions goes to Given.to and the rest goes to PayPal. That means it'll deduct $3.30 in fees from a $50 contribution.

Another drawback: For the most part, Given.to's catalog is limited to items sold on Amazon and apps from the Apple App Store.

As such, there's a good chance you won't be able to list an item you really want. I, for example, couldn't add a Nike jersey for the Minnesota Vikings' Adrian Peterson. Another notable absence from the catalog is the white iPad mini, which Amazon doesn't currently sell.

Given.to does have a few redeeming features.

The service says that if a gift gets funded at least two days before a occasion you are celebrating, the present will arrive on the day of the occasion, assuming the shipping provider cooperates.

If not enough was collected at least two days before the occasion, Given.to will deposit that amount into your PayPal account on the day of the occasion.

Conwell said that if an item is not delivered on time, the company will reimburse the people who contributed to your gift and will send you the item anyway.

Of course, you could always just ask your friends and family to send you a check in the mail instead.

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