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Q&A with Alfie Dennen on new service CityClickers

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Alfie and his team have just gone live with CityClickers — a pan-European moblogging service launched in conjunction with the LG Viewty. I grabbed him for a few minutes and fired these questions at him to answer:

1. What is CityClickers?
City Clickers is a Pan European moblogging competition, asking people to send in images of people they feel reflects the true style of their country. The site has been launched in Spain, Germany, The Netherlands, UK, and France. The site has a big blog partner network specifically for this competition, co-ordinated and arranged by the lovely folk at Shiny Shiny. This is the first competition of it’s kind I believe, a Pan European moblogging competition with some amazing prizes.

2. CityClickers is based on your moblog platform — was it a ton of work to create the CityClickers microsite?
Well, the moblog:UK site is the hub for all the promotional work we do with clients, where essentially they have a branded promoblog (promotional moblog) within the site, and it is promoted to our site users. City Clickers is the first use of a new product we have developed, which provides clients with a seamless moblogging microsite for one off promotions, or for an ongoing presence. The software allows us to create a client promoblog at a specific URL, with the user journey being entirely contained at that address. At the same time this is a great solution for a brand to run a promoblog competition in a microsite fashion, the moblog still benefits from promotion to our audience and members at moblog:UK, so we think it’s pretty nifty. Working with a client like LG means that there was certainly a certain amount of to’ing and fro’ing to get everything just so, and there will always be that element of one on one work.

3. You must be pleased?
The site has gone down a storm, and we’re really pleased. Using moblogging at the core of a promotion like this is a great move, for any brand. Moblogging has always traditionally been a bit niche, but with flat rate data, widespread understanding of MMS, and applications like Shozu or Trutap for one touch moblogging, the practice is really poised for widespread adoption. We’ve worked with some incredible folk over the years who have helped us really spearhead moblogging out of the niche -whether it’s a moblog for Ronan Keating (http://ronankeating.com/moblog) or an activist moblog for Greenpeace (http://moblog.co.uk/blog/greenpeaceuk), these efforts have, I hope, driven moblogging forward in the UK.

4. I saw you’re doing this in conjunction with Shiny Media — how are they involved?
Shiny Media came to us with the idea and requirement. We’ve worked with Shiny on a few things in the past (http://moblog.co.uk/blog/mychemicaltoilet) and they also have their own personal moblogs with us, so they really *get* our platform and what it’s capable of. They are coordinating all the partner blogs throughout Europe on this as well. I think that’s what’s interesting about this is that the ‘blogosphere’ is so often dominated by our cousins across the Atlantic that this is a great example of a cohesive European approach, harnessing the power of blogs, as well as mobile.

5. There are a lot of mobile marketing companies reading SMS Text News. What’s the rough cost for them to deploy a moblogging microsite with your technology?
We have different solutions for different sorts of clients and their requirements, with full platform builds such as The Big Art Mob for Channel 4 (www.bigartmob.com outreach activist moblogs within moblog:UK such as those for Actionaid (moblog.co.uk/blog/actionaid) or Greenpeace, and promotional moblogs such as those we do for bands, either run from a seperate URL like Maximo Parks, at www.maximoblog.com , or/and within moblog:UK. The cost is quite variable, but clients can get a full branded moblogging site with promotion at moblog:UK beginning at £2k, so it’s an enormously affordable and customisable solution.

Without giving away the particulars of our City Clickers build, our microsite solution is around 5k (UK Pounds) for a 3 month campaign, which includes a technology license, design, promotion at moblog:UK, URL registration and administration, as well as an MMS keyword for the UK. At this price point it’s something which even a marketer who hasn’t yet done much in the mobile blogging arena can try out.

6. What benefits is the technology realising for the brands you’re deploying it with?
Where do I start? 😀 Clients are able to include their own advertising in sidebars, they are creating databases of users who MMS into their moblogs, reach a high end tech savvy audience who are actively engaged in mobile blogging in the UK, and are reaching into the ‘content as advertising’ ethic, which it seems is where so much of our engagement with brands is heading these days. Clients can customise a message to be sent to those taking part in a promotion direct to their handsets as soon as that person has sent some content, closing the web/mobile gap.

7. How’s it going over at Moblog.co.uk?
We just launched today, but I think it will go down well. We haven’t done a competition yet which had this European scale, so prizes and participation are open to all and not only our UK members, which is ace. We’ve always had a great engagement from members, since the competitions we run are always closely in line with what people enjoy and can get into, ordinarily with a bit of a tech. slant.

8. What handset are you sporting at the moment?
I’ve been using the Nokia N95 on 3’s X-series gold for a while now. Can’t believe how great the phone is to use (well, battery life), and there is something incredibly novel and somehow amusing in being able to switch on GPS wandering down the street and watching your position change 🙂 X-series on this device is also where it really comes into it’s own, so I can’t wait for flat rate data to be the norm rather than the exception in the UK.

Alfie, thanks for taking the time!

If your company’s doing something nifty in mobile, drop me an email and let’s do a Q&A!

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

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