How much money should I charge for these two services?

I’ve been working on the technology to offer two related services. For the time being, one is called, “JournalPhone”, and the idea is that people who don’t otherwise keep a diary or journal, but want to record their thoughts and memories would pay a monthly subscription fee and be given a toll-free number and possibly a passcode, and password. The subscriber would call the number whenever they wanted ( e.g. during a daily commute) and record their thoughts, or recount an event that just happened, or have their kids or family talk into the phone. On a regular basis (e.g. monthly or when they recorded a certain number of minutes) they would be mailed an audio CD that could be played in any CD player, or I would send a computer CD encrypted with a password that they specify. Either way, the CD would contain the spoken date and time stamps of the recordings and the recordings themselves. For an extra fee, I’d send the audio files to a transcription service, and the subscriber would be given a booklet of what they had spoken.

The second idea is very similar to the first, and which for the time being is called “Telephone Memories”. It is geared towards events (weddings, anniversaries, reunions) where instead of a monthly fee, there would be a one-time charge. The invitees to a wedding, or people receiving a birth announcement, or attendees to a reunion, would again be given a toll free number that they could call and offer well wishes to the bride and groom, their favorite story about a classmate, etc. and the Audio CD would be a permanent memento of what people said at the time.

For both services, (similar to voicemail) the person leaving the message could re-record the message if they didn’t like it. Also, the audio recordings would be accessible via a web site and the recordings could be listened to via their computer, and I would supply a password-protected URL (really an RSS feed URL) that could be put into iTunes, and the messages could be downloaded to an iPod at any time (I thought that was less applicable for the journal product, but it might be neat for a bride and groom to be given an iPod with all their well wishes as they leave for their honeymoon).

I’ve figured out the technical pieces, and am at the point where I know that everything works, but I need to spend some time on technical configuration. I’ve spoken with a patent attorney and I’ve applied for a provisional “business method” patent.

So, what would you be willing to pay per month or year for the personal journal product?

What do you think would be a fair price to charge for the “event” product (which I think the main market would be weddings?). Any other thoughts? Thanks in advance.

These are fantastic ideas! I have a feeling you might have some success with this.

As for prices…that’s tough! I tend to not want to spend too much money on much of anything, but I think for the first one, I’d be willing to spend maybe 10 -15$/month or so. Since things such as Voicemail already allow people to record messages to themselves if they feel like it (though I doubt many people do) then the “extras” are a cost of the CD/booklet and I don’t think people would want to pay too much for that. I would want a password, though, so if someone else wants to leave a message/memory, then at least only I, as the user, can listen to it. “Press 1 to leave a journal entry. Press 2 then enter 5 digit password to listen to your journal”

For the second service, I assume only one person pays and an unlimited amount of people can leave a message (or a total of a certain amount of time or space per payment?) As a guest, I’d hate to have to pay to leave my well-wishes, since then you have to get credit card info, etc, and that might discourage me. If it’s one person sets up, and you have a month to leave xMB of messages or something, then again I’d probably not want to pay more than about 20$ (19.95$ for one month, 9.95$ for each additional month) or something. One risk is some prankster getting a hold of the phone # and filling up the alotted space with stupid messages so no one could use it. I think it would all depend on how much space someone gets, and how long people can have to use the service. Since you’re talking about audio format CDs, not mp3, that severely limits how much content you can offer, doesn’t it? Maybe a different rate for audio vs mp3?

I think the wedding audio message service will be the more profitable service, once you get it sorted out, but both are great!
Either way, good luck!

I also think the second one would be the more profitable of the two. I like the suggestion above concerning a monthly fee where people can rent out a few months worth of time. I personally don’t think I’d spend $50 total on it, but compared to the cost of a wedding photographer, $50 is insanely cheap. So it’s all about how you choose to advertise this.

And really that’s where you’re going to live or die on this product: the advertisements. You have two goals here:

  1. get wedding couples to know about it and want to buy it.
  2. get the wedding couples’ guests to know about it and want to use it.

The product sounds neat in theory but in practice, what % of potential customers would be consider it too tacky to say “call in here and compliment us!” You have to convince them it’s not tacky at all. In fact, you have to convince them it’s the greatest thing since sliced wedding cake.

I realized I’m going off on a tangent here but it’s just something to consider. Anywho, I’d say between $30 and $50 would be right. $20 initial fee + $10 monthly fee sounds good.

By the way, do you charge extra for a really large wedding that requires two CDs?