Verizon had a press release last week stating that their customers sent 20 percent more SMS text messages on 2/14 than on average.
Our data show that using text messages to flirt and get dates is equally popular among teens and adults … especially 15 year olds. Guess once you learn to drive you can actually go meet your date. There are a lot of new and interesting applications/services out there that will allow you to find people (can select men or women) near by who share your interests. Check out Meetro, Zogo, icentric, Small Planet and Match.com. Most of these are still regional, but the idea is interesting. Some will plot the actual location of "matches" on a map for you while most will let you pull up pictures and profiles of registered users.
I've got a report coming out very soon on mobile communities that will address the prospects for these businesses in more detail.
Separately, Alltel is driving to drive usage of picture messaging with their sweepstakes. "All" one needs is an Alltel camera phone and the Fujifilm postcard application. That's "all" one needs. It's hard to believe that it's 2006 and operators still have to run campaigns of this type – that it's not open across carriers. Fun idea – including the sweepstakes, but difficult when it is so constrained. Alltel has 10 million subscribers (order of magnitude). When I mulitply that number by the percentage of mobile subscribers that we show using MMS, sending photos to friends from their phones, or posting pictures to web sites or other properties to be viewed by friends …., the number of potential participants becomes very small.
I do like Verizon's pink Razr phone … very hot (pink). But at $249 and a two year contract, what would I do next year? or for Halloween?
It's all fun, but I think I'm to have to tap into my teenage focus group for some ideas on how they are really using their cell phones on Valentine's Day.