[UK] Build an API and they will come. OK that’s not always the case but throw in a genuine revenue stream and support for a hot mobile gadget with an affluent customer base (the iPhone) and you probably stand a much better chance.
That’s the hope of London-based Touchnote and it appears to be coming true. The company, which competes with US-based Shoot It!, turns a digital photograph into a postcard and then sends it to anywhere in the world, has seen its service integrated with ShoZu’s iPhone app.
San Francisco-based ShoZu, which describes itself as a media hub, enables users to push various content, such as photos and status updates, from their mobile phone to multiple social networks and other online destinations. The partnership with Touchnote extends the list of supported destinations to the physical world via a postcard in the mail.
In return for supporting Touchnote, ShoZu gets a revenue share of every postcard sent. Users pay 1.49 per postcard whether the purchase is made in sterling, dollars or euros, with ShoZu keeping 10%. Touchnote, of course, gets to tap into ShoZu’s existing user base and piggyback the company’s technology, which “improves the speed of upload and delivery of users images”, says Touchnote CEO Raam Thakrar.
Payments, however, are taken through PayPal rather than utilising the iPhone’s in-app purchasing functionality. While this stops Apple from taking a 30% cut, it creates a lot of added friction in terms of any spontaneous purchases which is hardly ideal.
It’s not the first time that Touchnote’s service has been accessible through the iPhone. The company already offers a standalone app for Apple’s device, as it does for various Nokia smartphones via the handset maker’s Ovi Store. More iPhone support should be forthcoming too thanks to Touchnote’s API and iPhone specific code library, which other third-party apps can now sign up to use.
Touchnote also offers a a browser-based desktop version of its service and API, which is being used by a number of partnering sites, along with support for Facebook photos and Picasa.