TextMark New Revenue Stream Off The Mark

TextMark is offering a new monetization service for bloggers that delivers their posts via SMS text message to the subscriber’s cellphone. The service will be announced tomorrow but you can sign up today. TechCrunch has the scoop.

To use this, a publisher signs up for a TextMarks account and chooses a price to subscribers (either $4.99 or $9.99 per month). Readers subscribe to the alerts via a Flash widget that’s embedded on a website or by sending a text message to 41411 plus a unique keyword, confirm the subscription on their cell phone, and then receive the alerts. The service is currently only available to U.S. cell phone users , using Cingular, Verizon, Sprint or Alltel services. Publishers decide what news is important enough to send out as SMS alerts. Up to 100 alerts can be sent per month to subscribers.

I can see this working for some sites where instant notification of breaking news is very important but for the average blog, TextMark is well off the mark as an income source. The other target TextMark is off the mark on is revenue sharing. Because of high carrier fees, publishers can expect only 1/3 share of revenue. That has to be the lowest rev-share in the entire advertising industry.

For the websites that can take advantage of this, TextMark could add another revenue source to the mix. However, I can’t think of any site, short of the Wall Street Journal, that can use the TextMark service. Would you pay $4.99 or $9.99 per month for SMS alerts from John Chow dot Com? πŸ˜€

22 thoughts on “TextMark New Revenue Stream Off The Mark”

  1. Mark Johnson says:

    I agree. It may appeal to the freelance journalists, not the average bloggers. Unless ofcourse one really doesn’t have a life and really needs to read blog posts when he/she is away from you computer.

  2. Good criticism. Yep! Another intermediate technology, before all mobiles become fully internet capable, in about five years or so. After that, what’s the market for a service like that?
    My best guess: probably almost non-existent, unless it evolves out of SMS.

  3. Chris says:

    You can offer it for free also.

  4. Ryan says:

    I doubt I’d pay that much regardless of the website or information. It’s just not that hard to get quick updates if/when you want them or need them.

    So no, I wouldn’t pay for updates from JohnChow.com, but it’s not a personal thing. πŸ˜‰

  5. Honestly, I wouldn’t pay for it, and that means I would not pay for JohnChow.com updates on my phone. Who needs this anyways? I mean, everyone will be getting an iPhone soon πŸ˜‰ and that means wi-fi, so they can actually go to the site, or check GoogleReader/Bloglines.

    I’m fine with turning on my MacBook and firing up NewsFire, it’s okay if I don’t get updates until 3 or 4 hours later, I can wait.

  6. Mr. Gary Lee says:

    I pay enough for text messages as it is. I don’t think there’s a blog out there important enough for me to keep up to date all the time (sorry John). As my friend said “it’s ok to step away from net once in a while”

  7. Leif Hearne says:

    I honestly can’t think of any circumstance that I personally would use this service.

    The only scenario I can think of in which this would be somewhat useful would be if I were a corporate level investor that day-traded and there were a company I was invested in that offered the service, and I was on the road a lot. That’s a pretty narrow niche.

    However, I guess there is no down side to signing up for the service from a publisher’s point of view.

    Finally – I would be very surprised if there weren’t already some sort of RSS > Email service out there, and how many of the target subscriber audience is not going to have a handheld device that supports email VS SMS.

  8. Nomar says:

    great service, but i dont think their will be many subscribers

  9. Leftblank says:

    Nice service, but not for blogs, I definitely wouldn’t pay to receive updates on my cellphone; that’s what RSS feeds are for, aren’t they? And if your mobile phone support email; you could also use one of the various ‘RSS to Email’ services on the web, no doubt cheaper πŸ˜‰

  10. WMA says:

    First of all, I think that the amount that a publisher gets from this is too small.

    Secondly, the only blogs that can benefit from this type of services would be the ones concentrated on stock market advices (the only example that I can think of). But, as I said on my blog, I don’t really know how many people are making their decisions regarding buying or selling based upon information provided by other bloggers.

    I honestly don’t see it as a successful program… but who knows… I may be wrong.

  11. Carl says:

    Of that $4.99, you only get 30% anyway… I doubt that large a majority would be willing to pay for SMS messages when they can just check their RSS for whatever they already pay for net access.

    This service is about 3 years too late.

  12. Tech Crunch says:

    No way !! I will never use this !!!!

  13. Colin Dean says:

    You could, with a little work, set up a mailing list to handle SMS alerts. SMS is just a very stripped-down email delivered to a certain number at a certain domain. For instance, Verizon’s texts go to #########@vtext.com. You’d probably just need to find out the domains for the other carriers and you’d be golden.

  14. mister scruff says:

    its not that hard to push mail out yourself to a paying subscriber base , once you’ve updated your RSS file.

    the pseudo logic is pretty simple:

    write to rss file
    select all paying subscribers
    build mail alert
    email them

    your paying subscribers would then pick up the alerts on their blackberries or email enabled mobiles.

    so in other words , there’s really no need for this service.

  15. Nick says:

    It’s a nifty idea, but as people have said, what is the real purpose in having txt’s sent to your phone to check blogs? I have RSS, thats enough – plus why pay when you could just design a aim bot to send out messages easily to anyone in a list?

    Blogger Time Capsule – 100,000 User Goal!

  16. Marc says:

    John, I can say with 100% certainty that I wouldn’t pay for that service as a reader. I’m just not that mobile, nor do I need my John Chow fix that bad πŸ˜‰

  17. TheAnand says:

    Did you mean Scoop or scope? rushing to the post button again? πŸ™‚

    yes, for the average blog this is not a big revenue generator. . .but then have you used the wap plugin for displaying the post on wap phones?. . .the results are nice too. . .see it in action @ my site…


  18. I figure it can’t hurt to try. I tried to hit their site earlier today when I read it on TechCrunch, but got errors.

    Think I’ll try again.

  19. Interesting concept – but I wouldn’t pay $5 a month just to get an SMS about important news when I can just see it by checking my RSS reader.

  20. There are certainly some instances where SMS alerts are very useful… just general blogs where the blogger posts whatever BS just to have a post for the day — no.

    I’m using SMS alerts for Adwords. Its very helpful and important for me to know if an ad stops running. Its free, but assuming it was $9.99 a month, knowing this even an hour earlier than I would otherwise from checking on the web is a tiny price to pay.

    Summery — timeless and relevance are absolutely critical. Lets face it, most blogs are full of to much junk to be that important.

  21. Payton says:

    Instead of a monthly subscription, a pay per text model might be more attractive to people. You select what kind of text messages you want, kind of like how you can flag what news stories you want to be notified of with Google News and get a text message when your keywords are triggered.

  22. David says:

    I agree, rarely are things posted on blogs that urgent that you need to get them texted to your mobile phone. In today’s age we are always just around the corner from a computer with internet access, so if you must, they are there, other than that, what is wrong with waiting till you get home a couple hours later?

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