Build your own Mobile Social Network with Sonopia
April 2nd, 2007

TechCrunch just posted about a new service called Sonopia that allows anyone to create their own mobile carrier AND their own mobile Social Network. Honestly, I haven’t tried it yet – and I’m just writing this down – but it seems like the idea has a lot of merit even if TechCrunch does not feel Sonopia lives up to the hype.

Sonopia works as a type of Affiliate Program that resells Verizon Services:

Sonopia uses Verizon to handle actual calls and data, and is effectively a reseller of their service. Users who set up a network for their affinity group (sports team, church, school, etc.) will receive 3-8% of the revenues generated from their customers (the percentage increases as the number of customers grows).

I suppose, in an ideal world, a Sonopia Affiliate would create their own mobile carrier and signup enough people to make a pretty good profit (the 3-8% listed above) – so if someone signed up 1000 people to a mobile carrier and each person spent, on average 40 dollars a month, the Affiliate would make between $1200.00 per month to $3200.00 per month – not bad – not bad at all.

But there’s also Social Networks you can create via Sonopia, though TechCrunch feels it could have been done a little better:

Almost as an afterthought, it seems, Sonopia tacked on social networking features to their site as well. Subscribers can add friends, create a profile, upload pictures and video from their phone, etc.

…..Small groups will be able to guilt/bully some of their members into switching from their existing carrier to Sonopia, but the site needs an overhaul before large number of people will feel comfortable with the service.

I would have liked to search by zipcode and see what social networks exist on the Sonopia site – but that’s not implemented (yet). I think the idea has promise, we’ll have to give Sonopia another 6 months to see where this all goes.

Link: TechCrunch

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Seems like an idea that will be an eventuality even if it’s not Sonopia… personal, relevant, “my own branded” experiences in a networked setting. The opening up of everything in a user-authentic way is where things are heading. The business model to solve it remains the largest hurdle, but refreshing to see someone else take a crack at it.

Giving people a cut of the business is the apparent incentive, but there is also a lot of value in connecting with others who share similar interests. Mobile service is only one of the products/services that could be packaged in a network business plan. Music, DVDs and video games are other things people can pass along/recommend while running mini-businesses.

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