Minno bills itself as “small change for the web”. Basically, it is a service for making small purchases online without a credit card or a lot of forms. They are offering $2.00 to try Minno and $1 for each friend who is referred to the service.
Minno was co-founded by Noah Ready-Campbell and Calvin Young in 2011. Minno.co changed its name to BuySimple.com in May 2011.
Minno wants users to click its widget for small online purchases to simplify these types of web interactions. Rather than going up against PayPal for any amount of money, they are looking for the “spare change” transactions like music, movies, pictures or web apps. It replaces the user’s hassle of signing up for subscriptions and is integrated with Facebook.
Users sign up with Facebook connect. There are no other options for users without Facebook, or for those who prefer to not connect their Facebook accounts to these types of applications. Supposedly, this saves users from having to login, provide account information, or deal with forced subscription fees. Based on privacy issues, it would be nice to have another signin option available.
It is very easy to connect with Facebook. But that is the only thing that is easy about Minno. First, let’s look at spending that $2 they have generously offered. There are only two sites with the Minno checkout button: Hacker Monthly and Hawt Cakes. So if you have nothing you want to sell and use Minno for or don’t want the current or back issue of Hacker Monthly, you have no place to shop with it.
Then there’s the next question: How does Minno make money? I’m sure they aren’t doing this out of the goodness of their hearts. During review, the site was thoroughly searched to find the fees associated with using Minno. The only information found was that as soon as your account is empty, Minno refills it with $5- for which it will charge your credit card.
At some point during the process of using Minno, a user will be asked for credit card or other payment information. This was buried in the Terms of Service:
You agree to pay Minno the amount that is specified in the payment plan in accordance with the terms of such plan and this TOS. You hereby authorize Minno to bill your payment instrument in advance on a periodic basis in accordance with the terms of the applicable payment plan until you terminate your account, and you further agree to pay any charges so incurred. If you dispute any charges you must let Minno know within sixty (60) days after the date that Minno invoices you. We reserve the right to change Minno’s prices. In that statement, it is implied that money will be owed to Minno, but in no way, shape, or form does it say HOW MUCH. The “plan” is nowhere to be found. This is just bad business practice. Whether it is a percentage of the purchase or a flat fee, users should know what they will be paying to Minno for being their “spare change”.
Users register by approving a connection with Facebook which allows access to a user’s personal information.
That is the unanswered question that lies at the heart of Minno. There is obviously a fee involved, but how much that fee amounts to is not clear.
Until Minno becomes more straightforward with their fee structure, the app is not recommended. Sure, it takes a few extra minutes sometimes to fill out a web form to make a small purchase… but I know exactly where all of my small change is going.