February 26, 2013

What is Pheed? And Should You Care About It?

It seems like since they emerged, we've been vigilant to find the Facebook killer or the next Twitter, Tumblr or YouTube. While we have been introduced to countless promises of "the Instagram of video" the "Twitter of audio" or any other combination of "the ____ of ____," the truth is that many of these apps and platforms come and go and the Colors of the world far exceed the successes.

That being said, let's get all excited over the next big thing before we realize that it doesn't have a business model, shall we? So what is the thing that everyone has been talking about? Pheed (of course it's spelled that way). And guess what; it has a business model, and a pretty interesting one at that.

In a nutshell, Pheed creates A SUPER EASY way for users to share text, photos, videos, audio tracks, voice-notes and live broadcasts. Then it gives them the option to place all of that content behind a paywall ranging from $1.99 - $34.99 per view or per month. The application is free, and you don't have to charge for your content, but the thinking is that if you do charge a premium price, you will be forced to create premium content. That's slightly concerning because one thing that the Internet hates is paywalls and one thing that the Internet loves is creating way more awful content than "premium" content. Despite these two potential deal breakers, right now Pheed holds the #1 spot in the App Store's Social Networking category and is currently #17 on the Free Charts. And unlike the growth of Vine last month, Pheed's success doesn't appear to be from porn; at least we don't think so at the moment. In fact, the majority of its recent growth can be traced back to a few popular teens.

What may be even more interesting to users is that in a world of encroaching privacy policies and debates over who owns the content posted on sites, Pheed makes it abundantly clear that all uploaded content "is owned by the user, Pheed retains no rights or ownership toward it." The app even gives you the options to copyright or watermark each of your posts. Those two very un-Facebook-like moves  should at the very least make Mark Zuckerberg and friends stop to think about the future of content sharing. Even if it's just for a second (which we all know is about a second longer than they actually will).

So is it going to be the next Twitter or kill Facebook? Most likely not. However, our passion for creating and sharing content has never been hotter and any platform that looks great and allows people to do it easily has a chance. Fortunately for Pheed, it succeeds at both of those things.

So what are others saying about Pheed? Here are some of the best recaps we've read:

  • Huffington Post - "It's now the No. 1 free app in Apple's App Store under the Social Networking category"
  • BostInno - "Once [college students] cope with the fact a group of teenagers beat them at making something 'cool,'? they'll likely jump on the Pheed bandwagon, too"
  • Forbes - "its Twitter-with-a-business-model approach stands to seriously impact the social media game"

So what do you think? Does Pheed stand a chance to make an impact on the social space? Or will a two-week media love fest followed by obscurity continue to be the norm with new social platforms?

January 23, 2011

Oh $#!+, I Lost My Phone (among other things'?¦)

Confession: I'm attached to my mobile phone.  I don't just mean that I carry it all the time, I mean I'm so emotionally connected to it that I feel naked, confused, lost and anxiety-stricken if I forget it or can't find it. I have some theories as to why this is, and I also recognize that my symptoms have only worsened since my move to a city five months ago, but my prediction is that it will only get worse.

It's a no-brainer that mobile phones have become so much more than a device to make calls to other phone numbers. The capabilities they now provide are endless from texting, emailing, taking and sending photos and videos, accessing the internet, checking sports scores and updates, navigating to a location, and the list goes on and on. These devices are doing more and more each day, proving us with more options and capabilities, and ultimately, making us users more dependent on them.

As we move towards the future, here are some cool things that mobile 'phones'? can do and will be doing before we know it.

Mobile Ticketing

As Cassie Shaine shared a couple weeks ago, companies are beginning to offer electronic tickets that can be sent to your phone via text-to-web technology. This sort of technology allows consumers to access an event or board a plane without the need of a paper ticket.

Mobile Payments

I was in an Apple Store the other day, and one of the sales associates helped me check out using an iPhone with a case that could scan the item's barcode, swipe my credit card, email and/or print a receipt.

Square is an example of another organization that uses similar technology. It offers a free application for iPhone, iPad and Android-powered devices that comes with a free card reader which is easily inserted into the headphone jack on your device leaving users with the option to have their card swiped or entered manually as payment.

Starbucks launched a program this week allowing customers to pay using their recently-designed iPhone app which projects a 2D barcode to be scanned at the register.

With further development of Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology, mobile devices may soon replace credit cards and metro cards. The technology would charge users as their device is passed near a NFC reader at checkout stations or transit gates.

And who knows! With the progression of technology, someday you may be able to pay back your pal for last night's pizza run by simply 'bumping'? the edges of your mobile devices together!

Remote Control

With GM's new electric car, the Volt, you can start, lock, unlock, and even honk your horn all through its iPhone app.

This technology has also been used with Zipcar as users can also lock, unlock, and sound the horn throughout their reservation using their free iPhone app.

A number of remote controlled apps for computers have become available, but one that has had a lot of popularity recently is the Remote app for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. This allows the user to control his or her Mac or Apple TV right from the handset.

Identification

AMOLED is a display technology for use in mobile devices and televisions, and is included in all of Samsung's recent Android-powered Galaxy S devices. The company has been researching future uses for the technology, including incorporation into ID cards in several ways. If Samsung has experimented with AMOLED ID cards or licenses, you can bet that someone has envisioned carrying valid identification within a mobile device. Imagine going out to a bar and using your phone as a proof-of-age!

Significance

So what does this mean for us as marketers? Someday consumers may not carry a wallet anymore. Mobile devices have the capacity to take over our pockets and replace credit cards, licenses, keys, and almost anything else. Tangible gift cards and rewards cards could become obsolete, as the significance of location-based apps and brand-specific apps emerges. Mobile devices have the potential to become the single most important item a consumer owns, with an abundance of information on the user's identity and assets. While this idea spells a victory for convenience, it could mean a nightmare in the case of a lost mobile device, costing time, money, and who knows what else. Consumers will likely be more involved in determining their next mobile device purchase, and security is sure to be a concern.

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