MobiAD Archives


Virgin Mobile USA Adds Special Features To Promote Social Networking

virgin_mobile.gifVirgin Mobile USA, which over the summer absorbed the MVNO Helio, has introduced some interesting new features which will make it easier for their subscribers to participate in mobile social networks.

These two new initiatives – “Connect” and “Mobile Lounge” are both available at no additional cost beyond normal internet access charges.

“Virgin Mobile USA and Helio customers are some of the most connected mobile users out there, and for that reason we continue to introduce innovative features that make it easier than ever for them to stay connected, share and communicate with friends,” said Doug Britt, Vice President, Data Services for Virgin Mobile USA.

Connect

Connect allows subscribers to display friend updates and activity from social media and networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, Twitter and YouTube in an easy-to-use, dashboard-style mobile interface.

Instead of logging out of a social networking site in order to access another one, customers can use Connect to conveniently aggregate status updates, invitations and requests, new photos and videos, comments, messages and more, all in one place. Connect also includes an RSS reader.

Connect will roll out first on certain Helio devices, and then out to Virgin Mobile’s prepaid customers later in Q1 2009.

This type of service seems to fit very well with the evolving mobile lifestyle of subscribers, who are often members of many social networks. Take a look at the MobiAD interview with Pascal Thomas, VP at Orange’s Multi Media division, who discussed their activities in this area of “social network aggregators”.

Mobile Lounge

“Mobile Lounge” is a mobile-community that is limited to Virgin Mobile’s customer. It allows users to share ideas and opinions, to see which friends are online, and features micro-blogging capabilities, discussion boards, chat rooms and profile creation and contests.

While we haven’t had a chance to use the Mobile Lounge, the idea of a social network that is only open to the subscribers from a single operator frankly seems counter to the entire point of social networks. But perhaps there are subscriber groups that will find it convenient.

On the other hand, Virgin Mobile USA continues to offer rewards to its customers. Following on the success of the SugarMama program, members of Mobile Lounge can earn points for writing blogs, posting photos and winning contests, and then redeem those points for credits for wireless usage.

For more about the SugarMama program, read “Trading Airtime For Attention“, a MobiAD interview with Scott Kelliher, Director of Mobile Advertising at Virgin Mobile US.

Also read Hey Friend, Fund My Phone! about another innovative program, where Virgin customers use a Facebook application to earn minutes when their friends listen to advertisements!


07.12.2008    Tags: , ,
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