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IDEA #10 – In-Person Social Networking – Event/Bar Mingling via Cell

Result/Solution proposed by this business idea: People will begin interacting with new people, making new friends in person. Some people will find dates or meet others that will end up being very good friends — because now you’ll be at a bar/restaurant/concert/sports game — and actually know who at the same place has similar interests as you.

Problem being solved: How do you meet people in a bar/restaurant/concert/sports game?

For the purposes of this example, we’re going to call this idea “hey.com”.

My idea is to basically have this virtual message board at every bar/restaurant/sports venue/concert venue. I call this hypertexting reality, which means applying virtual notes/tags to a physical object.

How it works: Hey.com distributes signage to every bar/restaurant — each bar gets their own unique ID (i.e. B.E.D. in NYC’s ID might be “bednyc”). People in the bar can interact with others by text messaging via their cell phone — they’ll send messages to “bednyc@hey.com” — or simply “post@hey.com” with the first word (or subject) being “bednyc”.

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People can also send photos and videos from the day/night at the event/bar/concert to the venue’s code — to archive the night a bit.

Each user will have their own profile and can choose the privacy options on it. I could post a message to the virtual message board in the bar by saying, “Anyone want to play some darts?” Other users can specify that they are at the bar and receive any new messages that people post to the code — or they can simply query the virtual message board by sending a message to “post@hey.com” with “bednyc new”. The user then gets a listing of usernames and what each username said. The user can then query the system to find out more about a specific username, or find out who is at the bar that is a single female between 21-32 (for example). That user might be able to see pics and/or videos of the user results (depending on the privacy options of users).

If people are using this at a concert, they could shout out their favorite songs — or give feedback on the show (“wow, that was amazing!”) or tell where the after-party is.

Sponsors could pay to send out messages telling about their post-concert drink/food specials — or national beer/soda sponsors could text out ads about their beverages (if the user is over 21, they’d receive the beer promo). We’d want to ensure these ads were applicable and expected by the user.

Value: The value is the user community that forms — a massive pseudo-offline social network. We also have the value of promoting advertisements to people in the midst of social setting or bar/restaurant (i.e. Coors would love to tell you “hey, why don’t you try a Coors beer” when your sitting on a bar stool at a bar). There’s also a huge online website where members can have their own profile, have friends — and friends can easily query the system using their cell phone to find out where their friends have checked-into last (so they know where they can meet them — this is similar to Google’s dodgeball.com). Also, there’s a ton of archived material — photos, videos, text comments, from all these message boards for each “venue”.

(How do we avoid privacy concerns — if someone takes a pic of someone else, posts it — can that person that was pictured involuntarily do something?)

  • http://picturemarketing.com Tim Hoyt

    Great idea. The whole concept of converting offline populations into online communities is a powerful one. From a marketing standpoint, the value of a grouping of people that are not only in the same geographic area but also share some common interest is high. I like the integration of the Picture Marketing element, as onsite photos are a great driver of online participation.

  • http://www.ifoundry.co.uk Stuart

    I’m guessing your based in North America? Becuase this business was done several times in every-which-way across Europe at least 3 years ago.
    I know of two companies that gave it a pretty good shot in the UK – the outcome? a bit of success in niche bars and clubs but not scalable and certainly not mainstream.
    A team in (germany I think) did a pretty good mobile community called Uboot which was pretty successful, although they had a pretty hard timemonetising it (may have got over that now)
    Other than that, the money is in using the mobile phone to add interactivity to TV shows, 1-1 chat and ringtones/movies/wallpaper.

    PS. I like the Picture Marketing concept Tim.

  • Patrick Gardner

    This is a very cool idea.

    Dunno why no one has done it yet.
    Start a site, get a list of bars, clubs, events…
    Have a way for users to say they are going to wherever on friday night before hand… Drum up a bit of publicity that way… Afterwards they can dump photos on their profile so you can search by people or by event…

    the sign up thing would be where the advertising revenue is at. Also I guess the stats are worth something. Whats popular in one area might not be in another… I imagine all the liquor companies in particular looking to support whats on the up.

    Two benefits for people: See what you’re friends are up to or meet new friends at whatever you were doing… Don’t think there is too many places that make the second all that easy. Myspace lets bands list shows… Sometimes you see someone comment about a show or whatever, but thats as far as it goes. No way to (neatly) do reviews, get an idea of who was there, where everyone else was or anything like that.

    Good stuff.

  • Marc

    Interesting. Any comments on any of the following?

    http://www.flagr.com/
    http://www.sixsense.com/
    http://socialight.com/

    Not exactly what you described but close.

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  • http://www.vestedventures.com Steve Poland

    Mobile social networking, via cell, taking off:

    Companies that offer mobile chat services include AirG – where users spend an average 59 minutes each day chatting — on and off — according to Fred Ghahramani, founder and CEO of AirG, – Power Chat and Upoc.”

  • http://www.vestedventures.com Steve Poland

    MeetMoi – http://meetmoi.com – mobile matchmaker; send a text of your location, they send profiles around you, if you want to chat, they charge $0.99.

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  • Jay

    I think foursquare works pretty much in the same way?

  • Anonymous

    I think this is a great idea, if only we can cut the last connection to internet: web. If you make this in a totally web-off way (intranet) can be disruptive!

  • Ivan

    I am the co-founder of a startup called Spotie.com which is a an Event based social network and I believe it has a lot of similarities to this idea!

    So please try it out and let us know what you think as we just launched the private beta.

    http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/spotie/id478373851?mt=8