mmMule is a social travel network that encourages travelers to deliver items to people in other countries. The deliveries may be to expats who miss treats from home or to natives who can’t get certain items any other way. Each “mule” is then compensated: in time, in language lessons, in friendship, in money, in a hot meal, or in any number of other ways that the pair can safely devise. The mule is also usually compensated for the price of the item. The items are sometimes simple: candy or coffee from back home, for example, and sometimes much more complex. This app helps travelers get more deeply immersed into the culture of a place they are visiting by allowing them to make friends with people who already live there.Show more screenshots »
mmMule was founded in February of 2011 by Andrew Simpson, Alan Mulhall, and Avis Mulhall. The site seems to have enough users of both types to offer the beginnings of a lively community.
mmMule is similar to other apps which link buyers and sellers, but the purpose is unique and creative. There are no apps which seem to directly compete with mmMule.
The app is attractive and inspires the sense of fun and adventure that the founders are trying to promote. Navigating the site is easy. The buttons are large and easy to read, the site loads quickly, and a user can get to the point right away. The app does a good job of selling the entire concept too, and in providing safety tips which ensure that the whole thing won’t go sour in some lonely corner of the world.
Users can sign up by filling out a simple web form or by signing in with Facebook. The process takes 30 seconds. There is no separate sign up process for delivery or requests, as the site assumes users may want to do both sometime in the future.
The app is absolutely free. Sometimes getting deliveries isn’t free, and sometimes it is. Users requesting deliveries can offer non-monetary wards such as language lessons, guidance to the best sites in town, or even “eternal gratitude.” The focus for some Mules isn’t necessarily on making money, but on forging friendships.
This app targets two primary groups of users. One group would be expats or people with a taste for international items that they can’t afford to simply ship over (or which isn’t available for online ordering). The other group would be people who engage in frequent international travel, or at least frequent enough international travel to make mmMule a part of their consciousness. It’s an ideal app for people traveling around the world or backpacking through Europe or South America simply because people will get the most mileage out of it (no pun intended) by interacting with it again and again. Those who can get everything they need or want at the local WalMart and those who don’t have passports will find little to delight them on mmMule other than, perhaps, a dose of inspiration.