Actually it was a pretty productive meeting. Starting out he liked the Clickboard. He thinks its a great new media and has more applications than just coupons. I see his point and we both agreed that it could be copied by anyone. That was not a qualm.
We also talked about the difference between SMS and MMS. It seemed common that this idea worked better through MMS and that most phones are capable of receiving MMS. We did argue about the potential plagiarism rights an SMS creates. He was saying that people can simply send themselves coupons, thereby creating cause for theft. He was saying that waiters can simply send themselves a bunch of messages, or even in the first place not tell that the SMS was used and pocket the money. This led me to the validation step. Currently his process does not have a validation system. I suggested that once the coupons have been sent to the user, that they would be required to validate the coupon in front of the waitstaff thereby expiring the coupon from use by that user. The total validated coupons received for that client could then by submitted at the end of the week or month for their records, eliminating theft from waitstaff. But he saw that people would not pay the extra money to send one more message to validate their coupons. This led me back to the fact that I wanted to change his model to be free to the user.
Regardless each message is locked in to costing RMB1 under his model so this would not work or change. However he said I could have my own number to use for RMB3000 a month. So the Clickboards on his site or others around the Internet could be accessed through my number.
He kept explaining that the mobile coupon market is still very young and has not taken off. He has seen little success with this type of business model. Something that can not support itself. And charging the client for giving away the coupons is very difficult. Alvin sees the light that the Clickboard has but not necessarily through coupons and believes charging clients RMB12 per acquisition of coupon will be difficult. Getting any money out of them would be hard. So he sees value in the Clickboard but not for this. This is a conundrum.
He followed up his argument with a colleague he helped try to take print coupons to the mobile media for use. He said there was little success. However I am going to follow up with this person Andrew Collins of MailMan.com to see if he sees the light in what I’m doing.
We concluded by saying that I need to do my own stand alone website that would act as the hub for Clickboards and that I could on a trial basis use his website as an extended portal. And again use my free number in which these discounts would be accesses through MMS. This he said he would do on the basis of a friend. However to build this standalone website with full Java applications could take three months with ten people working solely on the project for a grand total of RMB300,000. This is currently what his mGuanxi.com website is worth.
I then asked what he is doing with mGuanxi.com and he said it was simple the social tool of his service. I began to understand that not too many people are that involved with this site as their choice for a social media. We then went into behavioral advertising and that kind of tailspinned as he did not see people interacting heavily enough with the site to truly allow it to work for the clients. I see that and asked why there was no advertising on the site now and he said he did not want it to be overbearing to the user at this point but that is in the plans.
Currently Alvin is working more in Search Mobile Advertising which I agree is where most people see the potential for the mobile devices in the future. He is working with some big names and I think that is where his aim is. Maybe he will apply the Clickboard to this service in the future. He liked the idea and I’m sure he is thinking of ways to utilize it. One day I hope I still get credit.
He left me feeling encouraged that the idea has potential but told me the more you do the more pitfalls you will discover. He is reluctant to change, that is one of the number one pitfalls that occurred during this meeting. However if I was to start he would go with the flow and help me out. So as he said keep talking to investors and get their advice. So keep talking about it!