Founders Alec Andronikov and Derek Merrill of Free411 competitor InFreeDA have launched a new mobile coupon startup MoVoxx after selling off their free 411 service to AT&T. The service lets you move print coupons on to your mobile phone by dialing into an 800 number listed with the print version, or subscribe to weekly SMS updates of coupons that interest you for free. Coupons are just text messages, so advertisers will have to be willing to have them spread through forwarding. Subscribers can also deactivate their account by SMS or MoVoxx.com.
MoVoxx quietly launched this Wednesday in San Francisco, where they are based, with the Guardian and San Jose Mercury news as partners. Both papers are running ads of the service in order to expand their advertising reach to an opt-in mobile audience. MoVoxx says that print coupons get about a 1% redemption rate. The opt in structure is sure to push that higher. We reported earlier that Cellfire has been seeing a 20% redemption rate by making coupons mobile. The Guardian launch is geared toward coupons dealing with nightlife, while the San Jose launch is aimed at dining. MoVoxx hopes to keep the signal to noise ratio high by only sending updates of 2 or 3 three top coupons during the later half of the week, coinciding with the most social nights of the week.
MoVoxx has an interesting take on mobile coupons by appealing to the least common denominator in mobile access, 800 numbers and text messaging. Startups like Cellfire may be the technological future of coupons, but are limited by what phones they work on, the required software download, and making it’s own advertising relationships. Cellfire currently works with 9 advertisers. Movoxx, on the other hand, has the potential to quickly snatch up a wide range of advertisers (big and small) that already work with print publishers. Their main hurdle, though, is sure to be earning the trust of the average user to hand over their phone numbers.
Updates: Since we last covered Cellfire, they have launched Cellfire Express, which allows any phone with a WAP browser to access their service.