STOP PRESS: ShoZu to start charging!

by James Whatley on 3rd June 2009

There’s a lot going on today at the Really Mobile offices, what with the recent N97 shenanigans and the Mobile Web 2.0 Summit to cover, there’s a lot for us to get through. I myself have two (actually make that three) stories/features that I need to write up and to be honest, there really doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day!

How much will you pay?

Stay connected, but at what cost?

However, sometimes something comes along that simply bumps everything else down the line. Something so important that you simply have to drop everything and get the news up on the site. It happened a few weeks back with the Palm Pre, and today it’s happened again with ShoZu.

That’s right, ShoZu.

Really Mobile’s favourite sharing application announced today that “going forward”, it will begin charging for its initial download. The news, arriving via email this evening, sparks what would seem like a new attempt at monetization from them.
It goes:

Hello,

We’d like to start by saying thank you for using ShoZu. We have had the pleasure of communicating with several of you who have told us about your experiences using ShoZu and your thoughts for improving the service moving forward. That feedback from hundreds of ShoZu users has led us to develop a series of new features and changes to both the ShoZu user experience and the manner in which we distribute ShoZu. We wanted to let you know about a few of these updates.

You’ve got lots of flexibility in using ShoZu to upload photos and video. In addition to using the ShoZu mobile application, you can now use ShoZu to upload in new ways via:

  • picture messaging (MMS)
  • mobile email
  • PC and Mac Desktop application
  • any PC or Mac email client or webmail service

ShoZu’s mobile application takes the uploading experience to higher levels of functionality and two-way interactivity, with:

  • the ability to receive updates as well as read and reply to comments directly on your phone in near real-time
  • the ability to geo-tag uploads automatically
  • the ability to update your status, download feeds, and add tags and descriptions before or after uploading

Going forward, we will begin charging for the mobile application. If you’re already a ShoZu user, you’ll be happy to know that there’s no charge to continue using it. If you’re new to ShoZu’s mobile application, then there is a one-time charge to download the application and join thousands of happy ShoZu users.

ShoZu’s mobile application is available through our website, www.shozu.com and mobile website m.shozu.com, in Apple’s iTunes Store and will be available soon from other leading mobile application stores. We hope you continue to enjoy your ShoZu experience. We look forward to hearing your thoughts and suggestions.

Many Thanks,

The ShoZu team

So there you have it, ShoZu have made their move. As soon as I saw the news I threw it out onto Twitter to get some raw and instant reaction, the verdict?
Nicht Gut.

“Pixelpipe FTW!!!” – Ricky Cadden, Symbian Guru
Nice knowing you, ShoZu” – Carlo Longino, Mob Happy
“I’ve pretty much replaced it with Pixelpipe anyway” – Kevin Neely, Astro Turf Garden
What do they mean by “going forward”? Surely they mean “€5 on Ovi Store now” – Conor O’Neill, Louder Voice
Need it to be stable first guys” – Kip Hakes, KCJH Design

At the time of writing you can still download the app for free from http://m.shozu.com. The iPhone app store also currently lists the app as ‘FREE’, although this may change over the coming weeks. Within the Ovi Store, however, it’s a different story. A quick search returns no results, even though Conor, quoted above, reports that the app is already available for €5. See compare and contrast images below, (we can save the comment on Ovi Store for another day).

Where do we go from here?

This is a shrewd move from ShoZu. Timed with the launch of the Ovi Store, it seems like they wish to capitalise on the global roll out of Nokia’s much commented on venture into the application market. Fingers crossed it’ll pay off for them. We all love them and – in fairness – they do state quite clearly that:

If you’re already a ShoZu user, you’ll be happy to know that there’s no charge to continue using it.”

No doubt if you’re reading this, you’ve heard of ShoZu before. Maybe, just maybe you’ve downloaded the app already.
For you? No charge. Newbies coming in? €5 or, if my memory serves me rightly, £4 in the UK.

Pixelpipe have been mentioned as up and coming competitors and, what with their rather awesome Share Online integration, I’m not surprised.

Only time will tell who will win out.


Comments?
Thoughts?

Ladies and gentlemen the floor, is yours.



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