Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Don't Say Cheese

Damian Saccocio put on a great show at MIT Enterprise Forum tonight. This guy's an awesome speaker, and he wants to save all those digital photos on your hard drive from gathering virtual dust. Send your vacation pics to DigitalShoeboxes ("DSB") and Damian will lay them out on a customized map - or turn them into a podcast.

The concept hasn't gathered B2C steam (at least not after a $500 ad campaign), but there's been some interest among retailers and tour operators. Damian's vision is to pitch his outsourced digital media production services to associations, meeting planners and popular birthday-party-venues like Chuck-E-Cheese.

I just checked out DSB's website, and I'm thinking Damian needs to generate some recurring revenue. DSB charges $10 - $150 for creating eCards, podcasts, Google Maps mashups and online albums. These one time fees seem to include ongoing storage for as many as 1500 photos. DSB's website is located at WestHost, where the highest-capacity web server costs $380/month and includes one 250 GB hard drive. As DSB expands its customer base, it will be no small burden to keep every single non-revenue-generating past project online. (As a point of reference, Flickr charges $25/year for keeping more than 200 photos on display.)

DSB could probably use an FAQ, too. A mashup of your photos is $14.99 - but where and how should you send your pictures/descriptions? What's the typical turnaround time? Would you be able to make changes down the line? No details are available on DSB's website. Damian's take was "we need some help on the tech side", but I see product definition as his main challenge. And while I initially agreed with Scott Frederick's (from Vahalla Partners) assessment that there may not be easily aggregatable B2B market segments for DSB's services, the situation seems more optimistic on second thought. Washington DC does have a large number of associations and a shiny new convention center. I'm still skeptical about Chuck-E-Cheese though.

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