Bulbstorm.com is an online social network for inventors and innovators. The site makes it easy for users to share ideas or contribute to the implementation of other’s ideas. The site uses a system of currency, called the WATT$, which users earn by contributing Bulbs (Ideas) or collaborating on other’s Bulbs. Users can restrict access to their ideas (Bulbs) in a number of ways. When a Bulb is created, the user can create it as a Green light (viewable by all members of Bulbstorm), a Yellow light (viewable only by members the user authorizes) or Lights out (viewable only by the user creating the Bulb). Premium members can use the Bulblock feature to restrict access to certain details of their Bulb, and require a NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) before releasing further details to other users.
Users can contribute to other’s Bulbs by adding comments to the Bulb. Users earn WATT$ when they contribute to other Bulbs. The site also has a variety of social networking aspects, such as Profiles, where people feature the skills they have to offer, Favorites, Friends, Messaging and Groups. Users can promote their skills on the site to earn WATT$ or promote their Bulbs by paying with WATT$. Bulbs are organized on the site into one of 22 different categories, including Arts and Entertainment, Business, Finance, Home/Household, Science and Engineering, Technology/Electronics, etc. The site prominently displays Featured Bulbs and Featured Bulbers on the Bulb home page.
Tempe, AZ-based Bulbstorm.com was launched in March 2009 by CEO and founder Bart Steiner. Businesses are using the site to promote and market ideas for new products and receive feedback on them.
Competition to Bulbstorm.com comes from sites such as ConceptShare. While Bulbstorm incorporates ideas in all areas, ConceptShare offers a similar service for the sharing and collaborating on design ideas. Bulbstorm has no direct competition in the form of a specialized site for sharing of general ideas.
Pages are clean and uncluttered and the site is very responsive. The tools provided for creating Bulbs and contributing to Bulbs work very well, and navigation of the site is intuitive. There is a convenient top menu bar for navigation shown on all pages on the site. The top menu bar includes tabs for Explore (browse or search Bulbs or Bulbers), Create (Add Bulbs), Promote (where users advertise their Bulb or themselves using WATT$), Help (contribute to Bulbs), Search and My Bulbstorm (view favorites, groups, messages, profile). There is no advertising displayed on the Bulbstorm site.
Registration to Bulbstorm.com is free and is required to contribute to Bulbs or create new Bulbs. The registration process asks for first and last name, username, email address, password and optionally, how the user heard about Bulbstorm. Validation of the email address is required.
A limitation of a free membership is that members do not have access to the Bulblock feature. Pricing for a premium membership was unavailable.
Bulbstorm.com is recommended to anyone who has an idea and could use help in expanding it or implementing it. The site has great potential as a collaboration tool. It is also recommended to anyone wishing to share their thoughts and skills with others to help them with their ideas. In addition, existing companies may find the site useful for gaining feedback on planned projects or new products.