If you were walking along the Bukit Bintang (Kuala Lumpur) area last weekend, you may have bumped into a group of Stormtroopers (or Yes Troopers), the faceless grunts made popular by the Star Wars original trilogy, patrolling the said area giving out flyers promoting yes, the latest 4G broadband service in the Malaysia. These stormtroopers, with a big “yes” emblazoned on their armor, is part of a marketing campaign adopted by the 4G operator to generate a lot of interest for the brand and its upcoming mobile service that is slated to be launched on November 19, 2010. Yes.my’s flagship store will be located at Lot 10, which explains why the stormtroopers are concentrated in the Bukit Bintang area.
The newly released Opera Mini offers an alternative web browser for iPhone users. Until the roll-out of iPhone 4.0, tabbed browsing is probably the closest thing to multi-tasking experience on the iPhone. Opera’s tabbed browsing offers a tad different experience, compared to Safari browser. Safari adopts a zoom-out-flip-select-zoom-in approach whereas Opera Mini offers, well, tabs.
On Safari browser, the maximum number of tabs open at once is 8. For Opera Mini iPhone app, the maximum total tabs I managed to open is 38. Maybe that’s the maximum tabs, set by Opera. Maybe, it’s because with more tabs, the add-tab section becomes narrower until it becomes the untouchable zone.
There are three social networks, namely Friendx, eKawan and Emeimei, targeting different market segments in Malaysia. Friendx is targeting at the English-speaking group, eKawan for Bahasa Malaysia and Emeimei for the Chinese. The three social networks, operated by a Malaysian company, offer similar social networking features and adopt similar revenue model. Similar to Pacmee (which was covered here), these social networks tightly coupled its web real estate with mobile services; positioned as online mobile social community.
Launched in 2003, Friendx claimed to have more than 150,000 members (the figure is probably the combined total of users of Friendx, eKawan and Emeimei). It enables members to find new friends and companionships and offers typical social network ‘goodies’, namely profile page, chatroom, blog and video/audio upload. It also offers personalized avatars to its members.
Friendx Front Page
The social network offers free and premium membership. Users with premium membership get to update their blog & upload of video via their cellphones, unlimited blog messages per day, no banner ads on their blog pages, just to name a few.
Each activated premium membership will automatically subscribed to its Cupid Match, a match-making service, where members receive ‘matches’ notification on their mobile phones. Subscription is RM2.00 per week. For each SMS request and received, the charge is RM0.50. Additionally, members that want to accessorize their avatars will need to buy the virtual items with Points. These Points can be bought using Maybank2U.com or via SMS to Friendx. Both Emeimei and eKawan also have similar revenue tactic and also product concept.
Emeimei Front Page
eKawan Front Page
I did a quick search at whois.com and discovered that the technical and administrative contact of the three domains, friendx.com, ekawan.com and emeimei.com, is Susan Miyaki from Universal Dating Network, with contact address in Seoul, South Korea. I’m not sure if there is any Korean connection, in relation to the three social networks. Based on the company’s relatively dated press releases, it is found that the top management are PY Tey, President and CEO, Gerald Heng, Vice President of Product Development and Eric Lim, Vice President of Business Development.
Pacmee is a mobile-variant of social networking, which enables mobile users to send Twitter-like messages, or shoutouts, via their mobile phones. Users sign up and send shoutouts via SMS (using shortcode). Each shoutout will be sent to all the followers of a user via SMS and also posted on its website (www.pacmee.com) and mobile site (m.pacmee.com) and also its My Shoutout widgets.
The widgets can be embedded on Friendster, Tagged, Blogger, MySpace.com, Xanga.com, Multiply, Profileheaven, Yahoo! 360, hi5, Yahoo! Geocities, eBay, Wretch, Windows Live, Blog.com, Blog Drive, Diaryland, Piczo, LiveJournal, Tripod, TypePad and Freewebs. Its Public Timeline is available on its website, www.pacmee.com.
Users send shoutouts via SMS (with shortcode 22700) and will be charged RM1 for every 20 shoutouts on top of standard SMS request fee of RM0.05 for each SMS. In addition, there is a charge of RM1.00 every month and a user get to receive 50 shoutouts from the people they are following, at no charge. Currently, it is only available to Maxis (postpaid and Hotlink) subscribers.
Pacmee adopts (almost) fully the concept of Twitter, from the functionality perspective. Twitter positioned as utility for micro-blogging; Pacmee is yet another SMS-based service. It focuses on mobile phone users (in Malaysia).
Twitter also offers its users to send their tweets (messages) via their mobile phones (yes, even in Malaysia). A quick check on Twitter, there are about 27,080 Malaysian users; not sure about the number of Pacmee subscribers. There’s a total of 20+ million mobile phone subscribers in Malaysia.
For Twitter, it’s about growing its community first and worry about monetizing it later. Pacmee is monetizing its sms-based life-streaming from Day 1.