Opinion: MMS and Buy may be more than a Craze

September 3, 2007 at 6:20 pm 3 comments

inbabble-craze-digital.jpg

We’ve talked about SMS-based payment systems and shopping services quite a bit recently, but today we’ve come across a music-oriented service from Craze Productions based on SMS’s better looking but strangely neglected sibling, MMS. The idea is that users capture music related images, send them to Craze, and receive related content in return. While we always take developers “world’s first” claims with a pinch of salt, we’ve not heard of anything similar and we think it’s a really interesting idea. ‘MMS and Buy‘ should be well worth checking out when it launches in the UK later this month.

Craze Productions is a digital record label that specializes in publishing and distributing urban, reggae and dance music across a variety of digital platforms. It has developed the ‘MMS and Buy’ service based on an image recognition engine originally created by mobile distribution platform developer DSPV that recognizes images taken from both printed and electronic media. A typical usage scenario would look something like this: You pass a poster ad for a CD or a concert by your favorite artist on the street. You take a picture of the poster, send it to Craze, and immediately receive link-based access to ringtones, video clips, concert tickets and CDs. The service will launch in the UK later this month with a focus on the Top 20 CD singles. Users who take a shot of the CD cover in their local record store and sent it to Craze will receive a WAP link to a ringtone download page.

So, why do we like this service? Primarily because it makes use of elements intrinsic to mobile phone usage – spontaneity and variable location. We also like the ease of use – there is no application to download, no barcode to scan or SMS shortcode to type in. It really is click to capture, click to send and click to access the selected content. While we don’t think ‘MMS and Buy’ will enable MMS to catch up with SMS in terms of popularity, it’s an innovative use of existing technology that should work well from the start – and that’s always welcome in the hype-fueled world of mobile content.

Hamish M.
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Entry filed under: craze productions, dsvp, mms and buy, mobile applications, mobile content, mobile shopping.

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3 Comments

  • 1. Christian  |  September 4, 2007 at 10:57 pm

    Back in 2000 I was working on a similar business plan for a German mobile startup. Their system was actually based on music recognition software not MMS – so you would hold up your phone to the radio and get an SMS with the information and opportunity to purchase back. We did the business case in 20 different ways and it always ended the same – no way to ever make money with this. Too much breakage, too little user value added.

  • 2. hmackenzie  |  September 5, 2007 at 5:50 pm

    Thanks for the insight Christian. I guess my counter argument would be that there is a much wider range of accessible and interactive content and therefore greater value for the user in 2007 with Internet-enabled phones than there was in 2000. Still I guess the quality of both the engine, the content, and the overall user experience will determine whether this kind of service has a future.

  • […] Description: Users capture an image of a poster, CD cover, TV show or other item with their camera phone and send it to a service provider via SMS. The image is then put through an image recognition image and relevant content is sent back to the user’s handset Pros: Spontaneous anywhere, anytime usage opportunities, potential location relevance, ease of use, immediacy and relevance of content delivery, ‘cool tech’ factor, no additional software required Cons: Involves the most user effort, technology and business model unproven, not widely available Timescale: One for the medium to long term Verdict: Long-term future will probably depend on the success of early services that are now coming to market Examples: MMS and Buy from Craze Productions (which we talked about here) […]


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