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UK Domino's To Offer Pizza Via Text Message

Here in the States we can only hope for the day that services like this make their way across the pond:

Good news for junk food junkies - Dominos is offering pizza by via SMS.

Yes, if you get a passion for pepperoni when the pubs throw out, just go to your phone and send a message. Your pizza will then arrive from one of Dominos' 470 outlets just as you've dozed off in the armchair. There are a couple of safeguards - firstly, you'll need to register your full details online beforehand and you'll need to set up a 'favourite meals' list, which you can text to the shop. So texting 'hammered' could lead to a large pizza with extra cheese arriving at your door.

(More info @ Domino's via intomobile via Tech Digest)

Control The ATM With Your Cell Phone

Information Week reports that Diebold has acquired a number of patents that promise to change the way you use the ATM:

Diebold said that the technologies will allow mobile phone owners to find ATMs, order cash withdrawals remotely, generate electronic checks, transmit wireless payments and conduct other transactions more securely and conveniently than they do now.

Sounds exciting. Unfortunately we won't be seeing these applications for a while:

The company said it is in talks with technology partners that could bring Diebold's tested applications to market in three to five years.

At Information Week (via textually)

Text Messaging For Productivity

Though we usually cover the ways that SMS text messaging is changing advertising, the fact is, text messaging is popping up all over the place. Case in point--yesterday, Web Worker Daily published an informative article, 7 Ways to Text Message for Productivity. If you're constantly out of the office, some these tips could prove extremely useful. We've pulled out a couple of our favorites below:

Check your daily agenda. Google Calendar makes it easy to find out what’s on your schedule. Text “next” to GVENT (48368) to get your next appointment, “day” to get that day’s agenda, or “nday” to get tomorrow’s agenda.

...

Read your voice mail. Get the gist of a voicemail message by SMS, with CallWave’s Vtxt service, free while it’s in beta. You won’t get an exact transcription — less important comments like “hello” and “ummmm” will be left out — but that keeps the message down to about the size of a text message.

Read the entire list @ Web Worker Daily.

Kagan: U.S. Cell Phone Saturation May Spur Mobile Ad Rush

Research firm SNL Kagan released a 10-year wireless projection last week which predicts that by the year 2013, mobile phones--including consumer, business and dual users--will achieve 100% penetration in the U.S., when an estimated 322 million cell phone units in use will actually exceed the total U.S. population. Kagan estimates current U.S. cell phone penetration at 84%, or about 233 million units.

Kagan projects that subscriber units and voice revenue will inch along as market saturation is approached--but data revenue will grow at a compound annual rate of 14%, rising to at least 22% of service revenue, compared to under 10% today. Kagan says it may revise its data revenue projections upward after new WiMAX offerings and the winners of the 700 MHz auction emerge next year.

And what does that mean for mobile advertising?

Analysts say the exponential growth of mobile data use--including text, Web browsing, games, music and video--is spurring carriers, WiMAX competitors and other key players to accelerate their pursuit of the "holy grail" of market paradigm shifts: free mobile services fully subsidized by advertising.

Mobile advertising currently brings in about $500 million annually in the U.S., a small slice of the overall revenue generated by Internet advertising. With mobile operators, media companies and Internet giants like Google actively exploring potential applications and huge advertisers like Procter & Gamble, Burger King and Pepsi experimenting with mobile phone ads, some analysts believe that the overall market for mobile advertising could top $11 billion by 2011, or more than one-third of the current Internet advertising market.

Read more at MediaPost Online Media Daily.

Search Wikipedia via SMS Text Message

Wikipedia, everyone's favorite online encyclopedia, is now available via SMS-sort of:

SMS service GoLive! Mobile now offers a convenient text messaging interface to the Wikipedia.  Text the words about <your search term> to short code 23907 and you'll get back a link to a mobile-friendly, shortened Wikipedia page. This is fantastic for quick trivia look-ups on the go - but it does require that you can surf the web on your cell phone. (If only they texted you back the results...)

(via LifeHacker)

'Will Mobile Marketing Work for your E-Business?'

James Martin of E-Commerce Guide has published an informative article on the huge rewards (and the potential pitfalls) of mobile marketing. The article is worth a full read, but if you're short on time, we've pulled out some highlights for you. FYI: Martin identifies two types of mobile marketing--Opt-In SMS and Mobile Banner Ads.

Opt-in SMS (Short Message Service) campaigns, in which a consumer provides a business with his or her cell phone number in exchange for special offers or alerts delivered via text message, is one option. For example, a cosmetics retailer on eBay may send SMS alerts to customers, reminding them when it's time to reorder and offering a 15 percent discount coupon if they buy now.
...
Though still primarily used by large corporations, mobile marketing is increasingly attracting interest from small e-tailers and retailers, said Strother. "The mobile phone is a very personal device. People take it with them everywhere they go — especially people 35 and under. So you can easily develop a one-to-one relationship with your customers through their mobile phones." Messages sent to a mobile phone are much more likely to be read than e-mail sent to a PC, which may get routed to a spam folder, Strother adds.

The result: Mobile marketing can be more effective than other forms of marketing, said Bob Gold, CEO of Gold Mobile, a mobile marketing solutions company. Because mobile campaigns are highly targeted and opt-in, Gold said consumers typically redeem 5 to 20 percent of coupons delivered to their cell phones, compared to only 1 to 3 percent of coupons received through direct mail or e-mail.

Mobile marketing also helps e-tailers gather valuable data, such as cell phone numbers, on consumers who are interested in their products or services. "Once you get your customers to opt in (to receive an offer or alert via text message), you can capture them in your database and use that information later for loyalty marketing and customer retention," Gold said.

And some common mistakes to avoid?

For a mobile marketing campaign to succeed, Gold said, you must first understand your customers. For example, are your customers heavy text message users? Do they frequently use their cell phones to find products and services? If not, a mobile campaign may not be an effective strategy for your marketing efforts. If you do decide to go mobile, every mobile marketing campaign should be opt-in, Gold adds.

Head over to E-Commerce Guide to read the rest of the piece.

 

PingMe Launches SMS Reminder Service

For those who can never seem to keep up with an endless stream of appointments and responsibilities comes PingMe, a new SMS-based reminder service. Thrillist has the details:

PM's a new free service that'll text and/or email you reminders whenever you command it to, much like your late manservant did, only PM's missives do what Covington never could (digitally beam themselves into your pocket). With its Post-it-esque interface, using PM's as easy as setting and saving however many "pings" your defective memory requires: punch in your message, date/time, targets (phone or email), and whether or not to repeat -- daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, or millennially (handy for long-prophesied apocalypses). When the time comes, you'll get a text/email with your requested info, like rental car confirmation numbers, bar/restaurant addresses, or just friendly reminders for everyday tasks: "I must kill...the Queen"/"I must prevent Reggie Jackson from killing the Queen."

Sounds promising--for more head over to Thrillist.

Dadnab Rolls Out SMS Transit Tools In The Bay Area

Dadnab is an Austin Texas based company with an interesting SMS application:

Dadnab  is a text messaging service that plans your trips on city transit.  Without web access and don't want to study the schedules?  Dadnab tells you which bus or train to take, at which location, at what time.

They recently added the Bay Area to their system:

A Bay Area Dadnab user sends a text message (SMS) with an origin and destination to bay@dadnab.com. Seconds later, the user receives a text message with the optimal routes and times to get to the desired destination by rail, bus, or ferry.

Dadnab incorporates schedule information from 28 Bay Area transit providers and serves a population of more than seven million residents in the region.

This is an interesting use of text messaging--the only question is, how well would this service work for complicated directions? Would such a response overwhelm the user? Would it require multiple texts? Regardless, this is an innovative service, and if they could figure out a way to account for service delays and shutdowns--which would have been a godsend during New York City's recent subway flood--they might have a killer app on their hands.

Read the entire press release here.

Gannett Rolls Out Dozens Of Local Mobile News Sites

Media Post is reporting that Gannett Co, the owner of the USA Today and nearly 100 other smaller newspapers, has just rolled out a lot of free mobile content:

The Virginia-based media outlet has developed mobile news sites that correspond to some 84 daily newspapers and 19 broadcast station Web sites, as well as one for its national paper USA Today.

In addition to local news and information, the sites link to national news coverage available via the USA Today mobile site, and the content will be supported by local, regional and national display ads.

Users with handsets and data plans that allow for Internet browsing can access the sites for free by entering an 'm' before an existing Gannett site's URL (such as http://m.tennessean.com), via links from the home pages of all Gannet newspaper and broadcast Web sites, or by texting a unique daily short code to 59523. The short codes are being promoted through Gannett's print, online and broadcast news presentations.

Read more @ Media Post.

UK Consumers: We Want Shortcodes With Our Ads!

The goal of a most marketing campaigns is to induce a consumer response. In order to achieve this, the consumer has to remember your ad. This can be difficult in an age of media saturation. There are two approaches you can take to this problem. One - Hope for the best, relying upon the creative brilliance of your campaign, or Two - Give consumers a way to instantly respond. A recent survey of consumers in the UK shows that they're clamoring for the latter:

When asked if they would find it useful using text as a response mechanism to an offline advertisement, to then be forwarded to a mobile internet site for more details, more than 51% of consumers said they would be quite keen or extremely keen to use it.

Out of those who were interested in the service, three quarters (74%) said they would use it to order a brochure and 70% would use it to check the availability of a product. Two thirds (66%) would use it to find their nearest retail store, 65% would use it to request a sample and 58% would use it to browse the product information. More than half (53%) would be interested in using it to order tickets to a concert, play or other event, whereas 49% said they would use it to buy a product and 48% would use it to book a holiday or other types of travel. More than half mobile users would also use a service like this to enter a free prize draw (51%)!

Head over to the 160Characters Association's website to read more.

People Mobile Launches - Downloadable Application For Cell Phones

RCR Wireless News is reporting that People Magazine will be launching their own custom-built application:

The periodical launched People Mobile, a downloadable application that delivers breaking celebrity news, photo galleries, a puzzle game and a style blog. The application is available on carrier decks for $4 per month in addition to messaging charges

This is an interesting development, worth keeping an eye on. Not content to merely deliver a messaging or mobile web-based solution, People has built their own mobile application. And, bucking the usual model, the application itself is free; instead monetization will come through subscription access. If they see success with this strategy we might see a lot of brand-based, downloadable applications, especially if the FCC's recent ruling opens up the landscape.

Breaking Down The Walls Of The Mobile Web's Garden

The FCC recently issued a ruling that partially opens up the American airwaves:

The agency approved rules for an auction of broadcast spectrum that its chairman, Kevin J. Martin, said would promote new consumer services. The rules will let customers use any phone and software they want on networks using about one-third of the spectrum to be auctioned.

No one is quite sure yet how open things are about to get, but in the meantime, today's Wall Street Journal observes that some consumers have broken out of the walled garden themselves:

Ever since wireless companies began offering Internet services on cellphones, users have shared a similar complaint, largely because the companies want to control which sites their customers visit. Phones come with browsers designed to go mainly to the Web sites the carriers chose -- usually the ones they have revenue-sharing deals with. It is possible to go to sites outside this "walled garden," but the experience is so slow and cumbersome that most users don't try. And some of those outside Web sites won't work with the carrier-approved browsers.

But now those walls are beginning to break down, in a development that harkens back to America Online's failed attempt to limit its Internet subscribers' surfing in the 1990s. "Having a Web browser and the ability to browse the open Internet on your mobile phone will be a given in the future," says Tony Cripps, an analyst at research firm Ovum in London. "It's a capability that eventually people would expect to be there, just like text messaging and camera."

Since it was launched in January 2006, more than 15 million cellphone users around the world have downloaded the Opera Mini browser, which is available for free and usable on most cellphones. Early versions of the Opera Mini, developed by Opera Software ASA in Norway, display Web pages in a single column, which works well on cellphones with small screens. The latest version shows Web sites in full-page views that are even more similar to the look on a PC.

Read the entire article @ The Wall Street Journal.

SMS Your ECG To The ER STAT!

Science Daily has an interesting article about a prototype Bluetooth/SMS enabled heart rate monitor:

A Bluetooth heart monitor could text your local hospital if you are about to have a heart attack, according to research published today in Inderscience's International Journal of Electronic Healthcare. The device measures electrical signals from the heart, analyses them to produce an electrocardiogram (ECG) and sends an alert together with the ECG by cell phone text message.

The process involves a couple of steps, but it's a pretty simple idea that might save lives in the near future:

Thulasi Bai and S.K. Srivatsa of the Sathyabama University in Tamil Nadu, have developed a wearable cardiac telemedicine system that allows post-cardiac patients renewed mobility.

Thulasi Bai's prototype Bluetooth heart monitor records periodically an electrocardiogram (ECG) and transmits the information via radio frequency signals to the patient's cell phone. The modified phone has an added analyzer circuit that checks the ECG signal for signs of imminent cardiac failure. If errant signals are detect, such as any arrhythmia, the cell phone alerts the patient and transmits a sample of the ECG signal to the nearest medical care centre, via the SMS text service, together with patient details.

Is Nokia Jumping Into The Mobile Music Biz?

Fortune Magazine is reporting that Nokia is launching a hybrid computer/mobile music store, similar to iTunes, in order to blunt the impact of the iPhone's eventual arrival in Europe:

Fortune has learned from sources involved in the project that Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo will launch the new worldwide service Aug. 29 at a London event that will include live music at the Ministry of Sound nightclub. The new Nokia Web site will let consumers download songs to their PCs and transfer them to mobile phones and other portable music players, similar to Apple's iTunes. Nokia is expected to let users transfer songs to non-Nokia phones using digital-rights-management software.

Head over to Fortune (at CNN Money) to read more details.

(via mocoNews)

SMS Usage At Verizon Up To 10 Billion Messages A Month

Verizon Wireless customers sent and received more than 10 billion text messages (or SMS messages) in June 2007, a company record and the highest reported total of any wireless service provider in the nation.

Also in June, Verizon Wireless customers sent and received more than 200 million multimedia messages (MMS), which include picture and video messages.

Both monthly figures represent an increase of more than 100 percent from September 2006, when the company broke the five billion monthly text message threshold for the first time.

And in case you were wondering:

If a person were to send a single text message every 15 seconds, it would take more than 4,750 years of continuous texting to send 10 billion text messages and more than 95 years to send 200 million multimedia messages.

Official Press Release (via Textually)

Mobile Advertising: Ease Of Use = Growth!

Today's edition of MediaPost's Online Media Daily features an interesting commentary from writer Gary Bembridge. Assessing the current state and the future of mobile advertising, Mr. Bembridge sees a market bound by a myth--that mobile advertising is hard to do. Once this myth is shattered, Mr. Bembridge believes, the flood gates should open:

AS GOOGLE HAS SO SUCCESSFULLY shown, if you make media buying intuitive and easy, the advertisers will come. And not just the mom and pop retailers, but nearly every major marketer is now involved in some form of search marketing, if only to protect its own flanks from aggressive competitors. So, how does this translate to mobile advertising? There is still a nagging feeling out there that mobile advertising is hard to do. That it will require yet another agency specialist like search does or a fully mature mobile site, but it doesn't.

So what happens when someone dispels the illusion?

Simply put, the mobile phone has become an indispensable device giving marketers access to target audiences 24x7. It doesn't take an economist to project that marketers cannot afford to ignore this channel for long.

...

While seemingly in a nascent stage, the fact is mobile advertising is projected to grow from $1.5 billion in 2006 to $13.9 billion by 2011 (eMarketer, January, 2007). The reasons are simple: mobile advertising that delivers relevant and useful ads gives users immediate answers that are regarded as valuable content; advertisers can influence their audience during the "last mile" at the moment just before a purchase in the real world.

He closes his piece with some important advice: "Don't be the advertiser left behind."

Hi Fidel and F5 Records Use Shop Text to Power SMS-based Album Sales

We covered Shop Text's SMS payment platform back in April. Today we're passing along a press release that hit our Inbox: "Hi Fidel and F5 Records become first indie label and artist to run ShopText campaign."

In anticipation of the release of Hi Fidel's Company of Wolves album, F5 Records and ShopText formed a partnership to allow fans to order the album with a simple text message.   

ShopText is the new, fun and easy way to shop, sample or donate simply by texting a keyword they see in any magazine, newspaper, television, poster, jumbotron or other offline advertisement. For those with ShopText accounts already, all you need to do is text ' FIDEL' to 467467 to order using your ShopText account and mobile phone. "As an indie music fan myself, I am excited that F5 is thinking out of the box and got in touch with us." says Mark Kaplan, Founder & CMO of ShopText. Kaplan adds, "We believe that by making music more accessible, ShopText is a great service for fans and artists alike."

Of course you're dying to know about the artist:

Company of Wolves is a testament to Hi Fidel's progressive rhyme styling and lyrical word schemes, which allows the listener to join in on the journey though time and space and benefit from the destination.    

A truly global emcee with a viewpoint and sound to back it up, one would be hard pressed to box his sound into a single category. However, The Company of Wolves is perhaps the most accessible work yet to emerge from Fidel's extended career, while still retaining that uniquely lop-sided worldview that makes his music so dazedly impressive. 

F5 Records

SMS Traffic Up 50% Globally To 620 Billion Texts Last Quarter

160 Characters is reporting on some stunning SMS growth:

Global mobile data revenues from services other than SMS exceeded US$10 billion in 1Q07 according to Informa’s World Cellular Data Metrics (WCDM).

The total of US$11.3 billion compares with US$8.1 billion in 1Q06.

The figure means that nearly one third of mobile data revenues now come from non-SMS services, suggesting operators’ investments in advanced technologies are finally reaping rewards.

But this does not mean the end of the road for SMS. Worldwide SMS traffic was up year-on-year by around 50% to more than 620 billion messages in 1Q07 according WCDM. SMS revenues were up 23% over the same period, helping total data revenues to reach US$34.3 billion in the quarter, the highest ever. The higher increase in SMS traffic compared to revenue reflects lower SMS tariffs and the greater availability of bundled packages.

Bottom Line: Every day more and more people use SMS text messaging to communicate, which begs the question, are you using text messaging to reach your customers yet?

 

Club Texting Customer Spotlight: Sandbar

Sandbar NJ
Sandbar USA Text Messaging Case Study

Objectives:
Sandbar is a two acre entertainment complex on the water overlooking Manhattan, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. A New Jersey landmark for over 20 years, Sandbar annually leads beer & liquor sales for the entire state of New Jersey—operating only 6 months out of the year.

Sandbar’s Marketing Director, Vid Bahadur, saw the value of wireless communication when used for direct marketing. He also saw huge growth potential for the future: powerful marketing tools such as multimedia messages, including streaming commercial clips. Sandbar decided that the time was right to start turning their customers into subscribers, recognizing the potential to then leverage that existing subscriber base for future projects. 

When Sandbar decided to setup a direct, personalized system to deliver marketing messages to a targeted group of opt-in subscribers, they partnered with Club Texting. 

Solution:
In order to segment their customer base by demographic, Sandbar chose four keywords: SPLASH (Fridays) and SALSA (Saturdays) for their general mailing lists; SANDBAR and BOTTLES for their VIP reservation mailing lists.

Although Sandbar had an existing phone database of over 10,000 numbers, they wanted to grow a 100% opt-in texting list from scratch. They kicked off their campaign at the start of the 2007 season with three mailers: direct mail, hand delivered fliers, and email messages. The initial push offered all subscribers free admission, adding that this was the only way to gain free admission to the club. Within one month, they amassed 1,500 numbers. 

Sandbar USA Text Messaging

Over the next few months, Sandbar expanded their texting promotions to include in-venue signage, radio, online, and all print materials. Sandbar’s text campaigns often take advantage of circumstances. If they had surplus supplies, ongoing promotions, or spare capacity, they used a text messaging campaign to address or exploit the particular situation. The results have shown that these campaigns were both effective, and efficient, as they took advantage of available resources. 

  • Other campaigns included:
  • In-venue ticket giveaways: Announced a sponsored Yankees ticket giveaway during club nights, selecting one lucky winner the following Monday.
  • VIP bottle service for a lucky winner on slower nights
  • Last-minute text at 11pm to increase traffic on a rainy Friday night. Offered free shuttle service from parking lots to venue with text coupon: sent to 1,500 subscribers, 200 people showed up (13% Response Rate).
  • In-venue offers: handed out on business cards to push a specific product at a discounted price for text subscribers 

Outcome:
Within the first month of using the service, Sandbar collected over 1,500 numbers in total. At the present time, after three months of use, their text message campaigns now reach over 4,500 subscribers. On average, subscribers receive 1-2 messages per week.

Sandbar makes a point to give back to their customers, offering something in almost every one of their text blasts. 

For the first time in its history, Sandbar has been able to run successful marketing campaigns without printed materials or online support. Instead they are able to rely exclusively upon the Club Texting system.

New York Times on Text Messaging To Reinforce Branding

In today's New York Times, Business writer Bob Tedeschi takes a look at text messaging, and how online retailers are successfully using the medium to reinforce their brand messages:

ONLINE retailers were, for all the obvious reasons, the pioneers of Web advertising. When it comes to advertising on the mobile Web, though, they are treading carefully.

On the one hand, executives and analysts said, online retailers are right to be cautious. After all, few consumers are buying items through their mobile devices. But at least some online retailers say they have found enticing success from early marketing efforts, as long as those initiatives are aimed at simply keeping themselves on the radar of customers as opposed to trying to prompt an immediate purchase or a visit to the company’s Web site.

So how does it work?

Take Moosejaw Mountaineering, for example, an outdoor goods retailer based in Madison Heights, Mich. Earlier this year, Moosejaw began sending out text messages to more than 1,000 of its customers who had signed up to receive them. The campaign caught on quickly, with recipients often sending messages back to the retailer and receiving loyalty program points as a reward.

A recent message sent to customers, for instance, conveyed the news that someone had told Robert Wolfe, one of Moosejaw’s founders, that he looked like Ben Stiller. It then asked customers whether that was a good thing and promised points in the company’s rewards program for those who answered “correctly” (meaning yes). Sixty-six percent of the customers who received the message voted.

There is a lot more to read, so head over to the New York Times now.

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