CueCat, Version Two?

from the oddly-complicated dept

Remember the CueCat? The absolutely useless magazine barcode scanner that the magazine industry thought was the next killer app for the web? The product made sense from a magazine industry standpoint, but no one ever stopped to think why any actual magazine reader would ever want to go through the cumbersome process of hooking up a special scanner to a computer, reading their magazines next to the computer, being so interested in an advertisement that you wanted to scan it, and then happily looking at another ad for the same product online. Over at TheFeature I've written up a longer piece wondering if a new effort by the magazine industry in Europe is the second coming of the CueCat. It's yet another long, unclear process to somehow get you to look at more magazine advertising -- without ever explaining why anyone would want to do this. In this case, the convoluted process is that someone, somehow (they suggest via friend, radio or billboard) is given a keyword. For some, totally unclear reason, the person then takes that keyword and sends it via SMS to a special number. At the other end, that service (which, apparently you've already signed up for, because it has your email address), sees what keyword you've sent in, and sends you an email (not to your phone) with a special link to an online magazine, formatted using one of those funky online magazine products that lets you "flip" the pages like a paper magazine. So, you get a keyword, send in a text message, and the next time you're at your computer you'll have a random email message telling you to go a magazine's website. And, in some cases, they expect you to pay for this as well. Did the people creating this ever stop to ask "why?" anyone would ever do this?

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