Thursday, August 24, 2006

Ten Ideas to Make Prosper.com Better

I've made several prior posts on this topic. Here's a few more ideas.

(1) Enable lenders to have a watch list. Much like Ebay, a lender can select particular borrowers from their searches and save them for a temporary watch list. This is a useful idea in that people don't always have money in Prosper.com's ZERO PERCENT INTEREST RATE ACCOUNTS. They need a way to more easily track listings they prefer between their deposits.

(2) Add a "bid now" feature that allows bidders to bid based on a line of credit or margin account. Prosper.com would make money in margin interest between the time of the actual bid and the time that funds are deposited w/ Prosper.com.

(3) Modify the minimum $ amount required for fund transfers. Given that people are frequently getting interest payments deposited that don't add up to $50, people need a way to fund accounts with the exact amount required to supplement interest income in order to meet minimum bid requirements... For example, if somebody has $7 in interest income, then they may only want to deposit $43. At a minimum, Prosper.com should drop the minimum for incoming transfers to $25 and match their minimum requirement for outbound transfers.

(4) Allow people to set up a Prosper.com variable universal life plans. Prosper could make a little more money in fees and people could get life insurance coupled with self directed management of their tax sheltered money. Generally, variable universal life plans are bad investments; however, this might be a good medium if Prosper keeps the fees downs. Additionally, if Prosper.com doesn't go public via an IPO, they could get bought out or merge with an insurance company who wants to test out this idea and diversify their income streams.

(5) Get the bank transfer time down to 2-4 days as advertised. As it stands, Prosper is falsely advertising the observed time periods for bank transfers.

(6) Offer jobs to lenders to run "PROSPER MUTUAL FUNDS." Prosper would have to:
a) Observe over time those lenders that have the best lending track record
b) Offer a interview opportunity to the lender. If well-suited, based on interview, resume and track record, offer the person a job.
c) Prosper would then share the new income stream from Prosper Mutual Funds with the actual money manager.
d) Money manager employment would be conditional on maintaining a return track record at a predetermined rate above averages.

Some ideas from my prior posts:

(8) Add IRA options.

(9) Advertise Prosper.com on radio and TV. Right now people learn about it via word of mouth or free advertising (newspaper and magazine articles).

(10) OFFER INTEREST ON NON-OBLIGATED FUNDS IN LENDER ACCOUNTS. SOMETHING EQUIVALENT TO WHAT VANGUARD DOES (4% PLUS) WOULD BE APPROPRIATE.

2 comments:

Jon K said...

There definitely needs to be a watch list. I could use it for times when I have funds in the process of being transferred and have identified loans I want to bid on. Also good when folks email me letting me know about their loan (or my group leader letting me know about one). Sometimes I want to sit on the sidelines until I see what others think.

alexbey said...

Some great ideas - I hope you are submitting these to Prosper.

1) Watch Lists - a must!

3) Lower minimums for transfers as well as bids wouldn't be a bad idea.

5) Better yet, bring it down to 1-2 days!

6) They would really be Prosper Loan Funds, or Bond Funds - interesting. Also a secondary market, such as a bond market, for the buying and selling of existing loans would be very good.

8) Prosper IRA - absolutely!

9) Hmmm, I think word of mouth for now is good. eBay didn't advertise until much later, if I remember correctly.

10) YES. Even if it is less, 2 to 3%, this should be done.