On TechCrunch: Moodstocks – On the Silicon Prairie: Pongr
Let's face it, the world is becoming more and more obsessed with sharing. Everywhere you go, someone is taking a picture of their meal and uploading it to Foodspotting, checking into foursquare with a picture of the people they are with, or taking a picture of a real estate ad to get more information about a property with Geosync Gobal's product. Boston-based Pongr Media (who also has an office in Des Moines, Iowa) has found that users are willing to do the same with the products they interact with every day.
Part of Pongr's function is to scan the images that users send in with a custom built image processing engine to extract data out of it for clients. This could be a company's logo, a product, or any number of things.
This past December, TechCrunch's Alexia Tsotsis highlighted Moodstocks, another player in the image processing scene: "Moodstocks App Is Stickybits Without The Barcodes" (screenshot above). An excerpt from Moodstocks blog gives a good overview of what they are about:
Moodstocks is all about scanning. It links any people to any object through any smartphone, so that you can follow the digital activity related to a physical object in real-time: Who scanned it? What did they think of it? Where did they promote it?
So, the primary difference between the two companies is that compared to the above, Pongr is focusing on the consumer enthusiasm for brands in the social world. This is something that is becoming more important to major brands every day.
Earlier this year, Zach Cox of Pongr was kind enough to conduct an email interview with us about their social gaming platform and how it differs from Moodstocks.
Silicon Prairie News: What is the purpose of using Pongr?
Zach Cox: Pongr is a way for consumers to express enthusiasm for brands, products or services. It's akin to "liking" something on Facebook, but instead of the static "like" button, Pongr'ing a picture expresses more enthusiasm and earns you loyalty points, entries into contests, and in some cases, great content or special offers from brands.
From a technology standpoint, we use image recognition and other types of AI to help make the game more interesting and fun. For us, image recognition is a great tool that we use to make our product more valuable to advertisers and consumers, but it's not the sole driver of how Pongr works.
(Photo from our July 2010 interview with Cox)
What is your core technology?
Cox: Pongr provides a platform for mobile and social consumer engagement via pictures. We use image recognition, social networking connectors, and a gaming system designed to encourage brand loyalty.
How do you get users to sign up and use Pongr?
Cox: Pongr does some direct marketing itself, but most of the time our customers are responsible for "activating" their own campaigns. For example, when Dunkin' Donuts ran a mobile marketing campaign on the Pongr platform, they messaged over a million existing fans to activate the program. It's much more effective for both Pongr and customers when user sign-up is part of a bigger campaign that leverages both traditional and digital advertising.
Why have you taken the game approach to Pongr?
Cox: We noticed that our brand customers were interested in combing social gaming with their traditional advertising efforts. The decision to build a game approach into Pongr was based on the enormous growth in the casual gaming business. It's made it easier for customers to have a turnkey marketing program with us, and it's made a more memorable experience for consumers.
Do you have plans for an iPhone or other mobile app in the works?
Cox: We're very interested in the mobile browser because it reaches more people than any particular handset app. There are a lot of cool things that can be done directly from the browser, so we're pretty focused on that for now.
That said, we have a few iPhone and other app strategies in the works.
What's the revenue model behind Pongr?
Cox: We help traditional advertising campaigns get linked into mobile and social. The value proposition is for advertisers to get more bang for their buck on existing media spending. Thus, we charge campaign fees and per-click fees on top of whatever the existing media buy might be.
Has Pongr been funded or looking for funding?
Cox: Pongr has a few super angles that have contributed about 1 million dollars so far. We are looking for additional funding.
To learn more about how Pongr works, check out their "How it works" page.