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Text Me Dad Jokes - would people pay?

jramos02

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Hi everyone,

I've been working on a side project for the past few weeks. It has helped me refresh (and really learn) my PHP skills which could be useful regardless.

How it come about: I texted a joke to my fiancee in the middle of the day and she said not only it made her day, but she approached her coworkers who were having an intense convo, and told them the joke and it helped ease their day too. Our thought then was "what if we could just text a joke to people randomly throughout the week as a way to lighten up their day?". Idea born, I started to work on it.

What I have so far: I already have the website basically set up and a mini-cms behind it (with authentication) to send a text to myself as a test OR a text to everyone that is subscribed in the database.

What is left to do: Create a payment flow/system so users subscribe on a cheap monthly basis.

My question/feedback ask: My original thought was to let users sign up for free for a week so they can get a sense of how it works and then have them sign up for $1/month. Simple and cheap process. However, as I was researching payment methods, Stripe seems to charge 2.9% + 30cents of each transaction. Which would leave me with $0.60 per user.

So I was thinking, should I just make it $2/month instead? Would a $1 difference really deter users from paying at all? Is this something you guys think people would even pay for in the first place? My fiancee seems to think it should just be something we do for free and fun...but it costs money to send texts and I would also like to at least make SOME money out of it.

Any thoughts/feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
 

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msufan

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I can't speak for anyone else, but as a 26 year old male I would not pay. I would probably sign up for free though, and then you'd have my email.
Agree. Would not pay (42 year old male here), would consider giving an email.
 

Argue

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Hmm maybe you can tweak the idea. Instead of jokes, maybe pranks or funny text messages?

There’s this prank app I buy tokens from to prank my friends. The app brings me laughter, joy, and happiness.

Learn how to build a product that can sell emotion and you have a winner.

Here’s the app for some ideas:

PrankDial - #1 Prank Call App by KickBack, Inc ‎PrankDial - #1 Prank Call App on the App Store

(They’re making a killing.)
 

Supercar

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The sense of humor varies so much from person to person. I think most of the comedians on TV are not funny, and many are boring or downright disgusting. Even it I like someone, it does not mean I would want to hear their jokes every day, or pay for that.

At work someone was sending weekly work hours tracking reminders with Dilbert cartoons in them. I liked them, but then the corporate banned Dilbert, and none of the others were any funny, so I had to block all these emails.
 
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jramos02

jramos02

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One question I'll add to what I've already shared, what problem is this solving?
I don't know if it is necessarily solving a problem. The way I see it is that apps have a lot of friction because of the fact that you need to find them, download them, sign up, allow notifications...etc. Versus text message could be going against what everyone else is doing and it is just putting in your phone number and that's it (eventually putting in your CC or with Apple Pay to pay for the service).

The sense of humor varies so much from person to person. I think most of the comedians on TV are not funny, and many are boring or downright disgusting. Even it I like someone, it does not mean I would want to hear their jokes every day, or pay for that.

At work someone was sending weekly work hours tracking reminders with Dilbert cartoons in them. I liked them, but then the corporate banned Dilbert, and none of the others were any funny, so I had to block all these emails.
That's definitely an issue too. I love Dilbert for sure. I think specifically calling them "Dad jokes" has a certain expectation to it that might appeal to those that are interested in them, vs just "jokes". That was my logic behind it at least.
 

NZA

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some thoughts (disclaimer i have yet to set up a successful business, but from a programmer perspective i know all these things are very doable within a short time span and have developped similar stuff):
  • you can tweak the idea. the main idea sending text messages to people at recurrent (random) intervals. the content maybe varies. like when you signup for pinterest they make you select different interests. maybe a similar approach for when your users sign up, interests being humor "subcultures" (comedians / themes / ...).
  • maybe it doesn't even have to be humor. i.e. ryan holiday stoicism newsletter. something related to fitness.
  • potential sources for your content: joke datasets, speech-to-text from standups, machine generated text, intelligent agents to scrape the web looking for humor content (i.e. semi-random web crawling in communities like reddit,forums,twitter,etc + sentiment analysis), quotes from books ...
  • ways to monetize: subscription might seem odd as the guys above pointed out. some way of monetizing. how about comedians/regular users being paid to send things to customers. or comment ("roast") on their social media, or something else that the platform user provides as raw material.
  • PHP would not be the way to go. better and faster ways to code. you could set up the full platform in a single day (really), and the web/mobile interface in like 2 days. ie Twilio API for texting + node js as code backend + aws/google cloud for DB and to trigger events. since the main interactions barely need any processing, serverless would be fitting here. filling the database with data which needs more processing can be done on local machine that scrap the web / do ML, or on the cloud, separate from the main platform.
 
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Tommo

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There are some Rich Dad jokes on the thread Wait a sec, I thought all of us online people were idiots? (joke).
 

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GoGetter24

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OP it would work much better in a marketing capacity. If you can get people to sign up their numbers to it, you can then funnel them into offerings in a related niche.
SMS is considered more powerful than email because it's usually less voluminous, so it could help cut through the noise, if you can make it worth their while to sign up. It would need to be free.

I don't know if it is necessarily solving a problem
Kylie Jenner is not solving a problem. Neither is Angry Birds.

No chance people will pay for this
Would not pay (42 year old male here)
So middle aged businessmen will not pay for this? They wouldn't buy Crazy Frog ringtones or Beanie babies either, but some people did.

from a programmer perspective i know all these things are very doable within a short time span
I think you mean you say they're doable in a short attention span due to Programmers Optimistic Inflated Ideas Of Their Abilities Bias™ which results in the use of the word "just" a lot, followed by I'm Currently "Debugging" X™, and "it's more difficult than we thought" and "we didn't know it had to do X" and so on :D

Simple rule for working with programmers: ask them how long it will take, and then double it by every decade under 40s they're in.
 

SoftStone

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Neither is Angry Birds.
Hm, problems are relative. Isn't boredom a problem? Also, there are enough WANT businesses out there.

With that said, I don't know what the problem here could be. Maybe a lack of joy throught the day? Althought I don't know whether than can be solved with a single joke.
 

Rick Phillips

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The initial feedback that you have received isn't very encouraging from the forum but then the majority of these people don't believe in consuming non essential items or at least they shouldn't if they have read the books. If you are able to launch the service for free without incurring too much cost you could then see if you are adding value (creating an echo) and then if so you can then establish a suitable method of gaining financial reward from your service.

I honestly don't feel that people would pay for this service. But if you were able to collect simple data upon sign up and get people to agree to receive one advertising message per week in addition to 7 dad jokes then you might have the start of a revenue stream.

For example. You ask each of your customers for their mobile number and City of residence upon sign up. After a few months you know that you have 5,000 customers in the New York area. A comedy club in the local area is looking for new customers, you offer to text your entire database of clients that live within the comedy club's catchment area with a link to their event page with a joke from the act performing. You charge the comedy club 50 cents per message sent, cheap advertising for them and $2 of monthly revenue per customer for you provided you manage to sell a targeted message per week.

Value added for the customer and the advertiser. Income for you without going into the complexity of setting up monthly billing with your customers. I'd much rather charge a corporate entity $1000 for example than bill 2000 individuals 50 cents.

Good luck with your idea.
 

GPM

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I think the real business idea was identified in the opening post.

You noticed that the company doing the transaction for you is going to take 40% on these small dollar values. How many businesses out there are sending small messages all the time. Be the guy that charges them 10% and watch how much business you steal.

How does anyone get away with charging their customer 40% in this day and age? Oh yea, because they can, they essentially have a monopoly. Just like the original cell phone companies locked us in to 3-year super expensive contracts AND charged us an arm and a leg for a locked cell phone. Someone needs to shake that up.
 

aspenriver

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So I was thinking, should I just make it $2/month instead? Would a $1 difference really deter users from paying at all? Is this something you guys think people would even pay for in the first place? My fiancee seems to think it should just be something we do for free and fun...but it costs money to send texts and I would also like to at least make SOME money out of it.

Any thoughts/feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
Seems you are asking the wrong people, the wrong question...

People on this forum telling you if they will pay or not is not valuable for you. You need to find the people that your service is giving value to and figure out if they are willing to pay and how much.

I could give you an educated guess, but not knowing your audience it is likely just marginally better than randomly picking yes or no out of a hat.

What i can tell you is that you could easily be charging $2 per month or a lot more if you can deliver big value through understanding what it is that an audience wants. Just don't get too bogged down to jokes or using texts.
 

NZA

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I think you mean you say they're doable in a short attention span due to Programmers Optimistic Inflated Ideas Of Their Abilities Bias™ which results in the use of the word "just" a lot, followed by I'm Currently "Debugging" X™, and "it's more difficult than we thought" and "we didn't know it had to do X" and so on :D

Simple rule for working with programmers: ask them how long it will take, and then double it by every decade under 40s they're in.
 

Fox

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Think of the businesses that were making a killing off stuff like this in the early 2000s...
Weather / traffic / sports updates / ringtones / background images etc- where are they now?

If those companies that were already making bank and had the market are no longer involved you know its dead.
 

404profound

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Sorry for all the random comments, but one other thought entered my mind about this thread. One of the reasons I haven't shared my own SaaS yet is premature criticism. I trust my own assessment of the market enough to at least test an MVP without soliciting the feedback from others. While feedback from others can be constructive, it also makes it easier to question yourself, your knowledge of your market, and ultimately lose confidence in what might have been a good idea. It's not to say that our feedback is invalid, because it's certainly valid. However, if you solicit feedback from others before even testing an idea in the market, it'll be hard to ever "leave the nest". People are naturally critical and negative of outside ideas, and if you are not prepared to be met with this barrage of negativity it will taint your perception of your idea.

Of course, you may be iron-willed and impervious to harsh critique, but just sharing my perspective.
 
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jramos02

jramos02

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Many great responses here. I appreciate it. Trying to digest it all.

The initial feedback that you have received isn't very encouraging from the forum but then the majority of these people don't believe in consuming non essential items or at least they shouldn't if they have read the books. If you are able to launch the service for free without incurring too much cost you could then see if you are adding value (creating an echo) and then if so you can then establish a suitable method of gaining financial reward from your service.

I honestly don't feel that people would pay for this service. But if you were able to collect simple data upon sign up and get people to agree to receive one advertising message per week in addition to 7 dad jokes then you might have the start of a revenue stream.

For example. You ask each of your customers for their mobile number and City of residence upon sign up. After a few months you know that you have 5,000 customers in the New York area. A comedy club in the local area is looking for new customers, you offer to text your entire database of clients that live within the comedy club's catchment area with a link to their event page with a joke from the act performing. You charge the comedy club 50 cents per message sent, cheap advertising for them and $2 of monthly revenue per customer for you provided you manage to sell a targeted message per week.

Value added for the customer and the advertiser. Income for you without going into the complexity of setting up monthly billing with your customers. I'd much rather charge a corporate entity $1000 for example than bill 2000 individuals 50 cents.

Good luck with your idea.
Thank you for this. There seems to definitely be ways to monetize it that wouldn't require users to pay for it. I wonder if I just go with the free model, like you mentioned, let it grow and see what happens and what I can do with it. Thank you!

Sorry for all the random comments, but one other thought entered my mind about this thread. One of the reasons I haven't shared my own SaaS yet is premature criticism. I trust my own assessment of the market enough to at least test an MVP without soliciting the feedback from others. While feedback from others can be constructive, it also makes it easier to question yourself, your knowledge of your market, and ultimately lose confidence in what might have been a good idea. It's not to say that our feedback is invalid, because it's certainly valid. However, if you solicit feedback from others before even testing an idea in the market, it'll be hard to ever "leave the nest". People are naturally critical and negative of outside ideas, and if you are not prepared to be met with this barrage of negativity it will taint your perception of your idea.

Of course, you may be iron-willed and impervious to harsh critique, but just sharing my perspective.
You are very right. I am not totally sure what I was trying to get at and to be fair, many of you aren't the target audience but I figured you have all done it before so some good old advice could be helpful and it has been. It definitely concerned me a little and I am still not sure what I am going to do, but it might be something I need to let marinate a bit. Definitely tainted my perception of the idea, but worse case I will let it be free and just see what happens. Appreciate all the inputs from you - really do @404profound
 

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Ninjakid

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I put "dad jokes" in Google search and got hundreds of results.

Wouldn't pay a penny for this, sorry mate.
 

Arun Siva

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dont waste your time; i think you are on the right track mindset wise; go back to the drawing board mate and try again
 
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jramos02

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dont waste your time; i think you are on the right track mindset wise; go back to the drawing board mate and try again
I appreciate it.

On the right track mindset wise why exactly though? Just curious which part :)
 

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