Teapot Partners with ManyShip to Build Greater Trust in Peer to Peer Shipping

by Pranav Dandekar, Creator of Teapot

ManyShip enables its members to send things with people like them going that way

ManyShip enables its members to send things with people like them going that way

Teapot is a Stanford University research project where our mission is to enable trusted transactions on the web. We at Teapot are excited to partner with ManyShip to help make it the most trusted service for peer to peer shipping in the world.

How Teapot works

Teapot fosters trust between shippers and carriers on ManyShip using their social networks. When you view a trip or a need posted by a ManyShip user, like Michael Bennett, ManyShip allows you to “See how you’re connected” to Michael.

Traveler Profile with Teapot Integration on ManyShip

Teapot enables ManyShip users to “See how you’re connected”

Teapot will show you a trust score between you and Michael when both you and him have signed on to Teapot in your ManyShip account using the Facebook log on. The trust score is based on your shared connections, social interactions and common background.

Photo: Trust score between Manyship user Dan Denizen and Michael Bennett, powered by Teapot.

Trust Score between Sender and Traveler on ManyShip

Teapot enables ManyShip users to see a Trust Score, Degrees of Separation, and Which of your Friends are Connected to other users

This score leverages cutting-edge algorithms developed by researchers at Stanford University. These algorithms take into account a number of things about your social network and interactions: which friends of yours are connected to Michael, how well do you know them, and how well do they know Michael. The trust score captures the idea of transitivity of trust:  if you trust someone and they trust Michael, then you should probably trust Michael too. Additionally, the algorithms also take into account if you and Michael have a common background (e.g., you both went to the same high school, or worked at the same company, or are part of the volunteer organization).

In addition to simply showing you an opaque score, Teapot and Manyship also provide you more information about how you are connected (how many degrees you are separated by, which friends of yours are connected to the other user), so you can better understand this score. Like ManyShip, Teapot believes that knowing these shared connections and common background brings us closer, and creates greater trust in a transaction.

Your Privacy: We understand that if we are going to be in the trust-building business, we must first earn your trust. We promise that we will not share your data with a third party that you have not explicitly approved. Moreover, we give you total control over your data: if you sign in to Teapot, and click “Forget Me”, we will delete every single piece of information Teapot has about you. That’s one-click privacy brought to you by Teapot!

We look forward to helping ManyShip users build greater trust and enable a world class experience for senders and travelers alike. Get started building trust with Teapot by visiting ManyShip today.


Pranav DandekarPranav Dandekar is the creator of Teapot and a research scientist at Stanford University.  He has been thinking about trust, reputation and incentives in online marketplaces and social networks for more than 7 years. Previously he worked at industry leading technology companies including Google and Amazon.

Before It’s News features article on ManyShip

Before It's News Features ManyShip in Article

Before It’s News Features ManyShip in Article

In the past few weeks ManyShip has been seeing a lot of coverage in the press.  Recently, BeforeItsNews.com did a piece on focusing on how we are connecting travelers around the world with people who need to send goods. The article features some awesome points on how high prices, obligations, and a lack of efficiency in the shipping market have created problems for senders, and “many of the uncertainties and high costs are eliminated with ManyShip, which even supports international delivery”.

Here are some other highlights of the article:

” ManyShip, is attempting to offer similar revolution in connecting travelers with cargo”

“ManyShip could surely be one of its kind, Social Shipping Platform”

“Travelers can go to the site and make a post detailing their trip, how much extra space they have and how much they want to be paid to carry a package for someone”

“Travelers stand to earn money as well as rewards, apart from making new connections and friends.”

They also commented on the trust and safety factor which is our number one priority at ManyShip saying “ManyShip is offering similar services in the cargo shipment segment. Platforms like AirBNB have already proven that such innovations do work against the obvious factor of distrust. Do give the platform a chance and let us know your views.”

Read the full article here: ManyShip Attempting to Connect Travelers with Cargo.

ManyShip pre-releases The Definitive Guide on Peer to Peer Shipping

By Michael Bennett, CoFounder of ManyShip, The P2P Social Shipping Platform

Peer-to-peer-300x300

This is a pre-release of “The Definitive Guide on Peer to Peer Shipping” which will be available on the ManyShip site next week.  In the official release, we will include updated content including how to have something delivered and visual guides as well.  For now, enjoy the guide and begin to learn more about the wonderful process of P2P shipping.

What is Peer to Peer Shipping?

Peer to peer shipping is the process of connecting people needing to send things with people near them who are traveling to the destination they are sending to. In essence, it is the process of applying the peer to peer model (also known as person to person or P2P) championed by organizations such as Peers.org, to the global postal services industry.

Where did the idea originate from?

Peer to peer shipping in a technology platform has only began to be implemented in the last year, but the concept has been around for over a while.  ManyShip founder Prasad Kopanati (@pkopanati) coined the term peer to peer shipping or social shipping over twelve years ago when he started to send things back to his family in India after coming to the US as a graduate student. You can read more about his story here.

How does it work?

Peer to peer shipping is based on leveraging technology web platforms or mobile applications to connect people needing to send goods, packages, presents, and items, with people that are traveling to those destinations.  People sending are referred to as “senders” or “shippers”.  People that are traveling are referred to as “travelers” or “carriers”. By creating a platform, companies attempt to bridge the supply and demand aspects of the market, which are the supply of people traveling, matched with a demand for people needing to ship goods.

When someone needing to send something joins a site like ManyShip, they can search the current inventory of travelers, or post their need. If someone is traveling and wants to make money, meet new people, and help others, they post their trip. The site matches these people and allows them to communicate and then do a transaction. We created some simple guides to help you learn How to Send and How to Carry with ManyShip.

What are the benefits?

There are various benefits of peer to peer shipping for both senders and travelers. The most common advantages for people sending are a faster, greener, and more inexpensive shipping process. Travelers earn money, help others, and make great connections around the world. Let’s examine more in-depth the benefits for both types of users:

Senders

Faster: Peer to peer networks help you send your things faster by using pre-existing travel patterns which are a lot more efficient than the big, centralized, postal carrier. You can send your things pretty much anywhere in the world in 20-36 hours internationally (3-14 times faster than postal), and in 1-2 hours locally (12-48 times faster than postal).

Greener:  Traditional postal services emit 492 million tons (megatons) of CO2 emissions per year. Yuck! The hundreds of thousands of trucks and plane trips that are made directly impact and harm our environment. By using pre-existing travel plans, P2P shipping has practically no net carbon dioxide output.

Cheaper: At ManyShip, we have seen decrease in the prices of shipping by anywhere from 20-75% internationally when weighted for comparable travel times. Locally, instead of paying a courier $75+ to take a package from San Francisco to San Jose, you can find an individual who has a preexisting travel route between the cities and pay a fraction of that price anywhere from 12-48 times faster than USPS for example.

Simpler: No more stamps, filling out numerous forms at post offices, waiting for delays in long lines, and trying to figure out how much it will cost to send your things to Destination X in Y number of days. Technology and peer to peer methods streamline this process.

Travelers

Earn money: People who travel with extra space that carry goods earn money and rewards.  People make anywhere from $5 dollars locally to $100+ internationally depending on the necessity of the sender and items being sent. The model creates a strong incentive for people to carry, and helps to pay for a coffee, those horrid bag fees from the airlines, part of your ticket, or can help you put some money in the bank.

Make connections: Want to meet great people in your local community or across the world. Travelers have constantly reported making great connections with the people they carry for. This is a legitimate benefit for those interested in expanding their personal network and relationship pool. A famous story from one of our ManyShip carriers is that he got an internship that led to a job offer from the individual he delivered to India.

Help others: You can make money, meet great new people, and in this process you are helping others! It is a win-win for everyone involved, and travelers are doing more than just providing a personal service, they are helping others.

In conclusion, senders are enabled to have a faster, greener, and more affordable shipping experience. Travelers earn money, help others, and make great new connections throughout the world. Now who wouldn’t want that?

What are the risks?

The biggest concern we hear on a weekly basis is how carriers prevent someone trying to ship illicit goods with them. In order to prevent these type of things from happening, peer to peer shipping platforms should have a strong foundation in safe, secure, and trustworthy processes. Unless an item such as an iPhone is in the original sealed case from the seller, carriers should inspect the goods to prevent anything illegal being transported.  In order to better educate our users about the various processes we use at ManyShip, we list directly on our website the trust and safety measures we take to protect our users, senders and travelers alike. You can read about these practices on our ManyShip Trust page.

Where is the future of peer to peer shipping headed?

The future of peer to peer shipping holds great promise. Alternative methods of business and the sharing economy model championed by companies such as AirBnB for rooms and Lyft or UberX for rides have completely changed the way our society and economy will do business forever.  At ManyShip our vision is to build the fastest, simplest and most inexpensive way of sending your things anywhere in the world while protecting the environment.

Now that you understand how the peer to peers shipping process works, give it a try on the ManyShip today.

ManyShip Founder and CEO Prasad Kopanati featured on CareerHack

ManyShip Founder Featured in CareerHack

On Monday CareerHack.net published an interview and story about ManyShip Founder and CEO Prasad Kopanati, and his journey from a student in India to launching a startup in Silicon Valley.  The interview titled How to Launch a Silicon Valley Startup as an Immigrant focused on Prasad’s 12 year journey since he arrived in the US as a student pursuing his Master’s Degree.

Chalked full of insight, hardship, and the struggles many internationals face coming to the US, Prasad describes first hand the startups he worked with and previously founded, and the lessons he has taken from them in order to pursue success with ManyShip.  The story is a touching one of goals and hope for the future for those who are willing to pursue their dreams and stay persistent in the face of adversity.  Furthermore, it highlights how Prasad is focused on solving a real life problem that he and millions of others around the world face on a daily basis.

CareerHack.net is a website dedicated to helping people survive and thrive in the new economy focused on entrepreneurship and international careers.  Read the full article here: http://careerhack.net/how-to-launch-a-silicon-valley-startup-as-an-immigrant/

ManyShip Featured on the NextBigWhat

This past week ManyShip was featured on the NextBigWhat, India’s biggest platform for tech entrepreneurs. The article titled “Peer to Peer Network ManyShip Wants to be the AirBnB for Posts & Parcels” marks an important step of progress for ManyShip and our peer-to-peer (P2P) social shipping platform, as it helps to validate and establish our presence as an up and coming reputable startup in the international market.

Here are a few of the highlight quotes from the article:

“If you love sending stuff to relatives living abroad, you are going to love ManyShip.”

“The site has an intuitive user interface and makes things easy for both travelers looking to earn some extra bucks on the side and for people wanting to send stuff abroad. ”

“…the service has many things going for it. It saves time and money. It’s also environment friendly.”

The article also covers our vision, by quoting Michael Bennett, who focuses on ManyShip’s business and growth, saying “By connecting the millions of people traveling each day on local, national, and international levels, we aim to create a global network of people sending goods and helping others by becoming ManyShip travelers” and makes reference to the value that trust networks and scale play into making sharing economy based companies like ManyShip successful.

Click on the link here (http://www.nextbigwhat.com/manyship-peer-to-peer-for-posts-and-parcels-297/) to read the full article from NextBigWhat writer Jayadevan PK.

NextBigWhat-logo

ManyShip Seeks to Re-Revolutionize the Shipping Industry

ManyShip is an exciting concept that holds the potential to re-revolutionize the shipping industry after oligarchies such as FedEx, UPS and DHL seem to have saturated the delivery industry. In a world deteriorating through environmental degradation, oil dependency and conflict, ManyShip seeks to pioneer package transportation. Through promoting personal relationship amongst its users, ManyShip ensures delivery of personal items in a cost-effective manner and without a significant impact on the environment.

The peer-to-peer economy is rapidly increasing in its size and profitability as a result of growing globalization forces, which allow for more intimate relationships to be created and maintained. Time/space compression has decreased the dependency upon global giants of delivery, and displaced corporate power to the people. Not entirely. Not yet. I feel the major barrier that needs to be overcome in order to experience a radical shift in the means of package delivery is trust. Trust in users. Trust in the system. Trust in the ambition. An opportunist’s approach would include a sturdy belief in the shared economy over time. As more users engage in the process, the benefits become more apparent. A pessimist would conclude, ‘ManyShip has no chance’. Some would even categorize this perspective as a ‘realistic’ approach, yet every new innovation needs to persist through criticism in order to succeed. To the dismay of pessimists, the shared economy has already accelerated in its popularity. As our global population reaches an upper limit, a prosperous shared economy can achieve a harmonious trade and reliance between people, cultures and nations. This is the future.

In the present, ManyShip is part of a greater global initiative. In order to create a new paradigm, the shared economy must increase in size even further. There is already an efficient user-interface platform in place, which is being improved constantly. ManyShip connects users via the Internet, and enables them to display their altruistic characteristics. Travelers are incentivized by monetary awards and the satisfaction of assisting others, all at their convenience. With increased volume of transactions and a larger user base, there are endless possibilities of what the shared economy can become.

It’s amazing what we can do as opportunists, but we need to do it together.

Written by Abbas Hussain, Business Development Intern @ManyShip and Political Economy Student at UC Berkeley (’14)

Do you really think long trips are that boring?

By Rui Wang

Seagulls travel long distances in search of food

Seagulls travel long distances in search of food

If someone asked you whether you prefer short trips over the long tripsyour answer may be an instant ‘yes’. The reason is that the transportation is usually driven by other objectives such as going to work, meeting with friends, or shopping. As a result, you want to minimize your travel time to achieve these objectives.

However, in the case of biking or hiking, you may prefer a longer route . In such cases, your objective is to ‘exercise’, and thus the process of traveling serves a purpose. You may prefer a 30 minute route to a 15 minute one for the extra calories burnt. Therefore, travel time is no longer merely a cost, but has its own added value.

The added value of travel time does not limit to transportation modes that involve ‘exercise’ such as  walking or biking. Researchers also found that in commuting processes such as rail transportation, travelers sometimes prefer longer trips because of the extra ‘productivity’ can be gained during the trip. Thus, by taking a longer rail trip, you have a better chance of sitting down and getting some work done.  The longer travel time and the higher level of comfort in the train allow  passengers to utilize the travel time through ‘multitasking’.

With the development of technology, especially the broader availability of Wi-Fi, multitasking during traveling becomes increasingly popular. And thus, traveling can be more than just some boring waiting time, but the time you can utilize to gain extra value.

So, next time when you travel think about multitasking and utilizing the time wisely rather than mulling over the good and bad of a long trip over a short one.

Find more fun ways to making your long trips worthy at ManyShip.com.

Know the Value of Your Travel Time

By Rui Wang

Value of travel time explained at ManyShip.com

Time is Money. Picture courtesy Pixabay.com

In transportation economics, the value of travel time refers to the amount of money a traveler is willing to pay in order to save a certain amount of time, or the amount of money the traveler would consider accepting as compensation for losing the time.

As a traveler, you probably do not judge the value of your time consciously. But you can probably imagine that the value of travel time changes with the purpose of your trip. For instance, a business trip usually has tighter schedules and hence the penalty from a longer trip is greater.

Researchers observed that the value of time of business travelers is significantly higher than that of leisure travelers. Among air travelers, the value of travel time is between $30/hour and $60/hour for business travelers, while the value is only between $4/hour and $17/hour for leisure travelers. This means that as a leisure traveler, you are willing to choose a travel alternative that is twice as long as a business trip in order to save money.

Besides travel purposes, the length of the trip also affects your evaluation of travel time. If the impact is studied for a travel time increase of 1 hour in a 1-hour trip versus a 5-hour trip, the impact of the increase is way more significant in the first case. Researchers also observed that the value of time diminishes as travel time increases. Therefore, for a flight longer than 4 hours, you are more likely to consider taking a connecting flight. While for a flight that is about 1-hour, travelers seldom consider a connecting flight. Also as a result, airlines seldom provide such services.

Next time when you plan a trip, think about the purpose of your travel and the length of your trip, and see how the value of time is reflected in your life.

Trust, Security and Safety on ManyShip

Prasad talked about ManyShip at SIPACON 2013 conference on November 9 in San Jose, CA. SIPACON is an all day event for technology professionals, business leaders and entrepreneurs to connect with over 300 people and learn from industry leaders.

Prasad pitching ManyShip at conference

Prasad Pitching ManyShip at SIPACON 2013

Audience loved the concept of ManyShipa social shipping and delivery platform connecting people who need things sent with those traveling who have extra space. The result: senders get expedited shipping for less, and travelers are rewarded for their help. However, audience wondered how ManyShip makes the platform safe for the members.

We have taken several measures to build trust and security. ManyShip uses the proven and reliable industry practice of utilizing Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networks, and further works to educate users to build a safe and trustworthy community:

Registration and log in

  • ManyShip requires that our users register using our secure log in process before using our services. In addition we allow members to log in using Facebook which helps to build and maintain trust.

Secure Payments

  • When an order is accepted, senders are charged but payment is held until confirmation of delivery. Travelers are paid upon confirmation of delivery by the sender.

Private name, email and phone

  • We do not share names with other users and only collect them for payment purposes. Phone numbers and email addresses are also kept private until an order has been accepted.

Reviews and Feedback

  • We encourage members to leave a feedback and write a review after each transaction. This helps to create a safe and trustworthy community.

Private messaging

  • Our private messaging system allows members to perform all communications, information and file exchanges within the messaging system without ever sharing the email addresses and phone numbers.

In addition, we educate members through out the order process:

  • Members are encouraged to perform transactions within their network of friends and family. We provide various tools to members to get acquainted with each other and form the trust before accepting to carry or send goods.
  • Traveling members are obligated to open the sender’s package and re-pack them into their bags.
  • Traveling members are not obligated in any manner to carry the goods of the sender.
  • Traveling members are encouraged to answer the questions at the airport truthfully and completely.

We built our platform with safety as a core value, and have a number of great tools specifically aimed at ensuring thisManyShip strives to create a safe and trusted community for shipping and delivery.

ManyShip Helps You Find Travel Companions for Elderly

Find Travel Companions with ManyShip

Photo courtesy pixabay.com

Janvi is a 30 year old woman from the U.S. who has recently come across a problem. She tried to help her parents travel from India to the United States. Her father is 66 years old and her mother is 60. They needed help during the trip since there were issues with getting through security checkpoints, with carrying heavy luggage, and other emergencies that cropped up. Janvi tried four different ways to assist her parents in their journey.

Family and Friends
The first method Janvi tried was enlisting the help of her family and friends. She did this by planning their trip 2 months early. Janvi tried to find family and friends from the same area who were going to travel at the same time. That way they could book tickets together and travel at the same time. If this had worked, it would’ve been a great way to help her elderly parents feel comfortable in their trip and get by the various problems associated with travel. The problem was that she couldn’t find anyone who was planning on a similar trip at the same time.

Social Networks
Another method Janvi attempted was finding people in her social networks that could travel with her parents. After all, if you can’t find any friends or family members to help, the next best thing is an acquaintance, or even a friend of a friend. This turned up a few more leads, but still there was no one who quite worked out.

ManyShip
The next method Janvi attempted was using the ManyShip site. She searched for people who were planning on making a similar trip through the search function on the site. This initially resulted in very few matches. So, instead Janvi used the feature on the site to request whether other members on the site could help her parents with travel.

Wheelchair Service
Janvi also took the step of calling the customer service line for the airline a few weeks before the travel was going to take place. She asked for wheel chair service so her elderly parents would have an easier time moving around. The idea was that this step would at least help her parents move through the gates and get their bags taken care of.

So in the end, Janvi failed to get any help from her family, her friends, or her social network. Manyship didn’t pan out either, and she used wheel chair service to at least get her parents through the gate, but failed completely to guide her parents beyond that. Janvi is someone who understands just how important a travel companion to accompany parents in need really is. She is now determined to help out a member of ManyShip find a travel companion for her parents.
Easily find travel companions on ManyShip.com

Disclaimer: Names of people in this article have been changed to protect their privacy.