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IDEA #12 – E-Cards with Your Voice (and bonus ideas)

E-Cards are over 10 years old and still in my opinion one of the most viral things on the web. When you receive an e-card, it’s instinct to send one back to that person — and likely to someone else that has been on your mind. But the old dogs limit the number of free e-cards they offer and charge for more glorified cards (bleh!).

What about an e-card you could send to someone with your actual voice greeting (e.g. “Happy Birthday Mom — sorry I can’t be there to help you ‘over the hill’, but I’ll be home to visit you in 2 weeks! Love you!”). This might be already done, but I haven’t heard of it yet.

This idea creates very personal e-cards to the recipients. I could see this application being used not only for special occasions, but just anything — maybe instead of jotting down an email to someone, the user would rather vocalize something (i.e. I could see myself doing this when I hear a new song or discover a new band online — I send out these ‘OMFG’ emails to my close music friends, but would much rather express my passion/enthusiasm in a voice recording).

Now there’s a couple ways this could be done — first, if the user has a microphone hooked up to their computer, we could present the user with a Flash recording widget that’s embedded in a webpage. The user simply hits record on the widget, and it begins recording through the user’s microphone. (Also, this could just as easily record video from the user — and thus give the recipient a video e-card with actual video greetings by the user).

The second method, and more practical method for users I believe, would be a VXML application. Simply, the user would go to the website, select an e-card template, pay a nominal fee ($0.50? $1?), then our system would automatically call the user’s phone number (that they input) and ask the user to record a greeting up to 3 (?) minutes long. (The user could listen to the greeting and rerecord if necessary). Once the user is satisfied with their voice greeting, they hit the ‘*’ key and their greeting is attached to the e-card. Maybe the webpage auto-updates to show the full e-card to the user now — and then the user can choose to have it sent to the recipient(s) now (or a designated date/time).

*BONUS IDEA ONE*: Going along with the personal video idea — Revver has an API that allows you to create a video easily via another application. You could create an application that integrates with Revver to allow users to easily create a personalized video e-card greeting to someone.

*BONUS IDEA TWO*: There aren’t many video e-card websites yet — you could create a website where you pre-select loving / seasonal (Valentine’s Day related; Xmas related; etc) / funny videos from YouTube/Revver/MetaCafe/etc and embed them all on your website … allowing a user to send any of them as an e-card to anyone they’d like. You could monetize this idea with advertising — as well as affiliate links to relevant products for sale via etailers. (Maybe you could do the same with Flickr photos?).

You could also create a bookmarklet or plugin that operates with YouTube/Revver/MetaCafe and thus when a user is on a YouTube video page, they click the bookmarklet and instantly create an e-card that uses that video in it, and send it to another user. [Users might find this more useful then YouTube’s own ’email to a friend’ capabilities — and you’d drive more pageviews to your website].

*BONUS IDEA THREE*: Use #2 above with a new Evite type of system — so when you send out a quick invite to friends for a happy hour, the user can quickly include a pre-selected funny drunken video that exists on YouTube. Or for a birthday party — the user can quickly select a pre-selected funny birthday video. Etc.

*BONUS IDEA FOUR*: What about this bookmarklet / plugin that while you’re surfing YouTube, you could send a video to a friend, but rather than just sending a text comment about it — you could quickly record an audio or video comment that sends with the video (and plays prior to the video playing, or is a separate attachment in the email).

  • http://rocketsociety.net blundstone

    http://powerpittl.blogspot.com/2007/02/dear-friends-it-was-time-to-reorganise.html

    check out this one. the content is uninteresting, but “kyte” apparently has a cool “chat” feature.

    bw

  • http://www.vtc.com mark vernon

    This could probably be done very easily using Flixn.com website and API – if anyone wants to set it up, it shouldn;t take long, and I;d fund it as an Angel…:-)
    cheers
    mark venron, vtc.com

  • rulepark

    I would say combine with the song dedication feature, streaming. Then inside add a few words , Like ” I would love u to marry me tonight ” during valentine?

  • http://slawesome.com DRH

    The Audio Email idea part has been done. (http://slawesome.com) Simple flash widget for record and playback. I worked on the flash part of this site.

  • http://flixn.com/ Samuel J. Greear

    I just noticed this, but about a week or so ago we at Flixn threw something like this online for Mother’s Day. You can check it out at http://ecard.flixn.com

  • http://www.videoecards.com Olivia Harting

    To your suggestion above about ecards with personal voice greetings, try http://www.jalapenyo.com and http://www.fidoflix.com – both are video ecard sites that let you upload your own video (or starting next week, record a video from a webcam) and send it in a personalized ecard.

  • http://twitter.com/why_iphone_apps Raj

    Steve, good idea back in 2007. Check out Greet an app that allows you to send personalized voice greetings. http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/greet/id348375274?mt=8