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AQA2U Launched: 'Twitter with a Business Model'

Gordon Kelly

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AQA2U Launched: 'Twitter with a Business Model'

For a service with so many obvious rivals AQA or 'Any Question Answered' has been a rip roaring success. It has more than 2m users who have to date received more than 18m answers to SMS based questions ranging from "How big is the brain of an average domestic cat?" to "What should I eat tonight?". That said, AQA has much bigger ambitions and one is particular which may make frustrated Twitter venture capitalists green with envy...

Today AQA has launched 'AQA2U' a service it describes as a "commercial micropublishing platform" and which I've heard neatly described as "Twitter with a business model".

In a nutshell AQA2U enables users to sign up as 'publishers' and utilise the AQA platform to send out messages on any topic of their choosing. They can attract subscribers either through the AQA database or word of mouth and for every text issued they will earn 7-9p (charities earn 12p). Who would use this service with information so widely and freely available on the Internet? AQA head and former Symbian CEO Colly Myers told me the key for many is to be niche.

Myers gives the example of a pub team football manager who can send out the results of his team to players not in attendance or interested local residents. It could also appeal to an upcoming band sending out concert dates, book clubs, bloggers, charities, comedians and even - heaven forbid - journalists. All are content creators who can attain a loyal following or just anyone with a bright idea (examples below).

On a small scale the pub team manager covers his costs and only has to put out the message once. On a larger scale famous comedians could issue a single new joke to 100,000 followers and pocket £7,000+ a message. Don't even consider what would happen with Ashton Kutcher!

Of course the rules for AQA2U are strict to avoid exploitation. AQA forbids publishers to send out more than 14 texts in a month, a maximum of three per day and none overnight between midnight and 6am. Messages are limited to 160 characters and while all content is approved by AQA researchers copyright remains that of the writer. Subscribers are charged 25p per text, take out no contract and can cancel their subscription at any time. Publishers can also choose to donate money to registered AQA charities.

Publishers register on the AQA site then simply begin posts with ".yourprofilename2u" to send their messages out to subscribers. Subscribers receive the messages beginning with "yourprofilename2u" and can unsubscribe at any time by texting "Stop yourprofilename2u". Dead simple.

Will it work? Well the Web 2.0 space is overflowing with ideas right now but this is certainly one of the most interesting ones I've seen to date...

Link:

AQA2U

Kristof

April 20, 2009, 2:27 pm

This sounds brilliant; signed up for the horoscope one (PSYCHIC2U) and was hilarious! I think the football scores one (SCORES2U) will also prove useful.

pryonic

April 20, 2009, 2:34 pm

"and none between 6pm and midnight."





I think I'd prefer it if I got no texts between midnight and 6am in case I left my phone on. Was this a typo or am I missing the point?

Mersey Internet

April 20, 2009, 2:56 pm

I don't think a wide ranging one like SCORES2U will work as it will cost too much due to the high number of texts. So I have set up SPURS2U which sadly is likely to be low traffic due to our lack of Champions League status but will hopefully be more popular for that very reason. :)

Geoff Richards

April 20, 2009, 3:07 pm

Yep, it was a typo. Bit like London Underground, AQA2U runs from 6am til midnight, with nothing overnight. They recommend publishing between 8am and 10pm, which makes a lot of sense too.

Tim 9

April 20, 2009, 4:22 pm

Don't neglect Scottish football! (There's a joke in there somewhere...) Celtic's SPL title run-in should generate a fair bit of interest, so I've signed up to maintain CELTIC2U to pass on the weekly results as they come in. Come on the Hoops!

Hamish Campbell

April 20, 2009, 4:53 pm

Hmmm if I set up a 'WHATTHEGRANDKIDSAREUPTO' service then I could start tapping into the in inheritance now!

jingyeow

April 20, 2009, 9:09 pm

There was an interesting comment I read on BBC News about how and why twitter is so predominant in the media despite it not being as good a platform as Facebook. Due to the open nature of tweets, information is freely conveyed and easily collected by journalists. It's easy to gather a large sample of public opinion which in turn can be monetized by Twitter. Whereas facebook tighter privacy settings make it less attractive to marketers/advertisers/journalists.

Be Unique

April 20, 2009, 11:28 pm

Hopefully it will work alongside Twitter as another way of getting information out. I have signed up with VINTAGE2U and a family member has got MANUTD2U & VILLA2U. One household for the two football ones but with their own footie interests! Wonder if anyone has done Accrington Stanley yet?

Gordon394

April 21, 2009, 4:30 am

@Be Unique - to be fair, an Accrington Stanley service could be potentially more profitable. Results for the major teams are so easily checked these days a MANUTD2U (I'd have gone with 'MANU2U') may not be necessary. On the other hand, Accrington results are much harder to fin. There's also a hardcore niche audience (even notice the number of lower league team banners you see at England matches?) while you're unlikely to have rivals offering the same service...

Be Unique

April 21, 2009, 2:01 pm

@ Gordon - Fair points there Gordon re Acrrington Stanley, although the potential to reach a Worldwide audience is greater for the larger clubs. At least, I think this will still work from overseas as the AQA service does. Daughter was delayed at an airport in Greece and needed to know the last train when she landed in the UK. She got the answer direct from the UK, so it could have more of an appeal to the wider audience. MANU2U was already taken (run by AQA) so the Man Utd passionate member went for the next obvious.

Mersey Internet

April 21, 2009, 9:01 pm

There doesn't seem to be much interest in terms of people subscribing to any of them does there. The top one has been stuck at 15 since the start. Also its probably not the best time to launch football related 2Us with the season about to end. Pity AQA doesn't list all the 2Us in a directory form that you could browse.

Gordon394

April 27, 2009, 8:07 pm

@ Mersey - I believe that's coming


@Be Unique - that's my point, you're already competing with an official AQA service by targeting Man U.

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