100 Mobile Product Ideas...#17...
...Let the users sell services...
As I recently wrote in a piece "Mobile in the 3G Era" for a forthcoming book "Mobile Mania", the future of mobile is smart-following. This means following what others do. If a trusted and respected friend buys brand X, then his or her followers might buy brand X too. Ditto, what they read, watch, listen, surf, where they holiday, who they network with etc.
This is nothing new, but mobiles enable a kind of agility and immediacy with information that once users become accustomed to, there's no going back. Also - and critically - much smart-following (or leading) will be permission based. This means smart-leaders can give permission for others to access their digital alter-persona. Permission granting is more viable with mobiles because the one granting permission can do it there and then, as requests come in.
When such a trusted network is working smoothly, I envisage that we have entered into the Semantic Web era more fully. Meanwhile, there are very simple steps that can be taken to enable mobile users to influence each other. I already mentioned how a MIDlet programmer should always consider adding viral features to promote their MIDlet to others.
Allowing referrals is not difficult, but we can go one stage better. Pay users to do it!
Yes. Click-throughs on referrals should be rewarded on mobile services. In fact, it is possible to go another step further and allow users to advertise actively to each other. Let the users do the segmenting of the market, not some horrendously complex data-mining effort. The principles of sell-side advertising apply equally to mobiles as they do the Internet, if not more so.
In mobile applications, there is a real cost to finding things out. Going back and forth between pages takes real patience. If a user finds a gem buried away somewhere, they should be able to tell others and get rewarded financially for it.
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