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promoting a site for posting pictures from mobile phone

I created a site (www.findmoby.com) that allows people to post pictures/messages on their website/myspace/forum/blog simply by sending the picture or SMS text message from any mobile phone (and via email from blackberry, etc.). The picture is converted to a polaroid-style photo with the user's message printed at the bottom, and recorded on a user's profile page, and the user can put a link on any site so that the most recent picture is always displayed there.

Upon sending a picture or text message, the sender receives list of the latest message sent by each of the sender's friends, allowing the sender to keep track of his friends via mobile phone, and receive comments posted to his profile via text message. I am seeking ways to market this service.

I am not experienced with marketing and I need as much and as detailed advice as possible, but I would value most greatly advice specifically relevant to this site's services and its prospective customers (bloggers, webmasters, myspace users, forum posters, etc.). I am looking for input on:

1) Online communities likely to find the service useful
2) Creative ways to promote the site among these target groups
3) Applications that may broaden the site's appeal beyond casual users
4) Ways to partner with existing sites or companies

So far I have posted on the MySpace forums and a number of similar social networking sites, but I believe that working directly with one or more web communities or companies would be more productive than these sporadic efforts, none of which reaches a significant number of eyeballs.

Thanks for your help!
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1 Solution
It sounds a lot like mobog's website.  Mobog has been around for quite some time so that would be the first step - why is your site better?  

Once you answer that question, usually sites like that advertise themselves.  People will send URLs of the images to someone and send them URLs to their images only.  People can sign up to recieve email / SMS notifs of new images, etc.

bitt3nAuthor Commented:
hm.. I would say that the site is closer to dodgeball.com than mobog.com (or textamerica.com, which is like mobog).

The basic idea is that the user sends in a text message (with or without picture) stating his present location and plans ("I am at Bill's Bar then going to the Red Sox game.") and then receives a list of the current locations and plans of everyone to whom he is connected (ie, direct and indirect friends, or with whom he shares affiliation to a group, such as a web community, college, social networking site or forum.)

The idea is to make it easier for people who are in large communities to meet others in these communities who happen to be at or have plans to go to the same venue (are in the bar across the street, or will be going to the same baseball game, for example). My site also incorporates a search engine that allows the user to search for people among his friends and groups who are presently at or going to a specific venue (restaurant, club, ski resort or whatever). Using the site to post messages and perform searches does not actually require a cell phone.

I added the picture posting for the purpose of syndication, since I figured that people would post the pictures on their own sites. (It is also useful for showing real time pictures of places people are at or planning to go to, but I expect most incoming messages will be plain text messages.) However, perhaps partly because syndicated cell-phone picture services are already available (and picture messaging is expensive), I think it is wise to consider alternatives that will allow me to build the critical mass necessary for such syndication to be self sustaining.

In the past couple weeks I have clearly not been successful in making enough people aware of my site that syndication could achieve this critical mass necessary for self-sustaining interest in the site's primary function.

My present thinking is that if I can find a community that knows it needs a better real-world presence and can use this system as a means to create one, then this may help achieve the critical mass necessary for syndication to grow the site. (Both because people in the community wil invite their friends to communicate with them through the service, and because some of them will hotlink their pictures from their own sites.)

However, I am a programmer not a marketer, so I am looking for advice on how to proceed. Specifically I am trying to identify the best community for my purpose and I am also wondering if my strategy makes sense. Thanks for your help so far.

I really did not take that much of a look at your site but I decided to take a better look.  Interesting idea / concept.  The biggest turn off for me though - the user name / password field on the home page.  The home page needs to have more information on it.

Why should I join?  etc - You are asking them to register but not too much information.  A terms of service / privacy policy / AUP should be there as well.  

Also I keep getting an error:
function sf(){document.f.q.focus();}

Something about it being null or not an object.

Usually sites like this though - rely more on people inviting them.  Another thing - can you use Moby without registering?  Why do you want my email address?  Maybe allow registered users more things if you will while unregistered users are limited to things they can do on your site.  

Also have something on your frontpage like moblog - show what is happening on your site.  Current / fresh content.  If someone does ask how to get pizza sauce off and someone tells them, show it on the site. (Mind you, I have not really gone thru it but could I tell him how to do it without being his friend / registered?)

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bitt3nAuthor Commented:
hm.. promoting the site more on the home page is a smart idea. I could present a list of the last 10 messages posted and a nutshell description of how the system works.

The reason I require registration is so that the site can route incoming messages properly. For example, if you send a message that you are at Bill's Bar, the site will only display this to people whom you designated as your friends, and the site will respond to you only with information about these friends. An email address is required so that the site can match incoming email messages to your account.

I agree that engaging users before they sign up is a good way to get them interested in signing up. The way I do this now is that I allow anyone to view the profile (including last 10 messages) of any user by clicking on the user's current message picture (if the user has posted this picture on a website or forum or blog somewhere).

The profile page that appears when you click on such a picture looks like this sample:

If people were actually hotlinking from their block to their pictures in sufficient numbers, I think I could get some decent traffic, especially if I take your suggestsions to make the home page more informative and find additional ways to make unregistered users play around with the site. However I still have the problem of getting enough people to start hotlinking that syndication brings in a good number of new users. I am working on the first two ideas now. If you have any suggestions on the last one, that's where I think I may continue to have problems.

Incidentally, the function sf(){document.f.q.focus();} problem you saw should be fixed. (It didn't show up on my browser but I believe I located and corrected the issue.)

Thanks again for your help.

>>For example, if you send a message that you are at Bill's Bar, the site will only display this to people whom you designated as your friends, and the site will respond to you only with information about these friends. An email address is required so that the site can match incoming email messages to your account.

That part I do understand.  And respect on the membership part.  Perhaps add something to the member's control panel to give to just anyone.  I understand more about your business plan but as the internet evolves, so do the websites.  Perhaps you do not want Moby to become something like MySpace - which I totally understand.  

>>and the site will respond to you only with information about these friends.
Maybe have the site respond to you only if your friends do respond but still allow users to choose what they want.  It would sort of freak me out if someone did come up to me and say Hey I saw you were here on Moby.. But a great conversation starter :)

IE still gives me that error.  I did something to IE to let me know about errors and I have no idea what LOL.  It is a pain at times but using the computer can be as well so I just take an aspirin and deal :)

bitt3nAuthor Commented:
thanks for your help Corey!

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