It started with a kiss

Kiwi Facebook application targets digital goods

A trio in Auckland has built a photo application, called TagYou, for Facebook.

Entrepreneur Brad Robinson was going through some photos when he saw a girl pouting her lips as if she was kissing back towards the camera. “I thought, what would it look like if someone kissed back at someone in a photo? It would probably look like a lipstick mark on the photo,” he says.

Initially, TagYou was going to be just a “kissing” application, leaving lipstick marks on photos chosen by the user. But then Robinson thought it would be even better to incorporate a range of icons, such as haloes, hearts, smileys and stars, rather than leaving it at just a kiss.

Robinson enlisted the help of web developers Shaun Lee, who is the creative director for an advertising agency in Auckland, and iPhone game developer Jonas Budelmann, to build the application.

TagYou is still in its early days and is yet to be officially launched, says Robinson.

Building applications for Facebook was the hot topic last year, says Robinson. He thinks Facebook applications have now “died off” a little bit, but there are still a few strong ones, he says.

It has become a bit more difficult for third party developers to grow their user base on the social networking site, but the recent redesign that allows application developers to publish to the community has increased the chances of growing.

For TagYou, this means that if someone “kisses” someone in a photo, this can be published to the “Wall” on Facebook, potentially reaching out to hundreds or thousands of other Facebook users, says Robinson.

The developers were forced to do some major design changes along the way, to be able to deal with scalability issues and API changes from Facebook, but now TagYou is all set for its official launch, he says.

Robinson, who did part of his degree in accounting, marketing and mobile commerce in California, has a few ideas around how to make the application more profitable, as the traditional banner advertising model hasn’t proved to be particularly successful for many developers, he says.

The digital goods model, for example, would allow users to buy icons or symbols they really like and drag these onto photos. These icons could be part of a campaign, for example pink ribbons on Breast Cancer Day, he says.

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