Recently, TechCrunch and TechCrunch UK featured Phreadz, a new threaded social multimedia conversation network. Now that the cat is out of the bag, I’m pleased to say that I’ve been part of the “clandestine pre-alfalfa” testing on Phreadz for more than two-months.
Comparisons to Seesmic are inevitable because both services feature recorded video conversations. But there are few similarities beyond that. In fact, Phreadz has the ability to integrate desktop and mobile video, images, text, audio and links, making it more akin to Utterz. But, its easy-to-navigate way of viewing threaded conversations and a veritable bounty of other features makes Phreadz unique. I could go on about the array of features, but you may as well hear about them directly from Kosso, the sole person behind the creation of Phreadz.
I am pretty enthusiastic about Phreadz for many reasons, but one thing that is really encouraging about its long-term viability is that, unlike many new social applications, Kosso actually has a business model in place from the beginning that does not rely on advertising. Instead, Phreadz will offer custom-branded channels, in addition to the open-access public service.
From a marketing perspective, having a dedicated channel with a custom look and feel, gives you ability to open up a dialogue and build a community with people within the context of your brand. Because of Phreadz ability to weave multimedia into the conversation, participants can choose the media that suits them best, and can do it from a desktop or mobile. For example, people can record an audio question from their phone, reply with a photo to describe a technical problem, make a video and include notes and links, and it will all be threaded together in a way that allows for context and offshoots of new discussions. Channel managers will have tools to set who can start a conversation and whether posts will take replies, much like blog permissions. Participants can reply to each other, forum-style, which will build community amongst your channel’s visitors.
Think about how channels could be used by brand managers for product launches or by market researchers for focus groups. What about using it for customer support? Use a channel to promote an event and engage people to interact, not only with you, but with each other, creating a community.
Here’s the first post from my channel marketing.phreadz.com which talks about branded channels and the difference between Phreadz and YouTube’s Rolling Stones Living Legends promotion. (Note: the site is only open to testers at the moment, and so you will not be able to see my channel until Phreadz goes into the “open beetroot” a.k.a. beta phase. However, posts can be embeded for all to see.)
Do you find this type of tool useful, from a business and marketing perspective? How you would use a dedicated branded channel? I’d love to know what you think.
(Disclosure: I do not represent Phreadz as a client nor am I being paid by Phreadz or Kosso. I am not an investor. I am simply a tester, and on the basis of many positive experiences, I am now an evangelist.)