Texting In Purchases

We were in the car this morning headed to the airport at 5:15am and surprisingly were having a coherent discussion about the new iTunes rent a movie service.

My kids are big users of iTunes to buy TV shows but have never been interested in buying movies. It’s probably because of the price point. But the idea that they can “rent” a movie for $3-$4 by downloading a file that will erase itself in 30 days really interests them. I explained that this model has been around for years (Starz comes to mind) but hasn’t taken off. They think Apple/iTunes will have a different and more successful experience.

But everyone, particularly The Gotham Gal, pointed out the 2 hour download is a problem with this model. If you want to watch a movie right away, this won’t work.

I suggested that Apple add a feature to iTunes that allows you to send a text message to iTunes with the name of a movie or a song or a TV show and it will start downloading it to your computer right away (or the next time you connect if you are offline). Everyone loved that idea.

The Gotham Gal said that Amazon should do the same thing. She gets her best book ideas when she’s out and about, with friends, or reading the paper on the couch. If she could simply whip out her phone, text amazon, and be done, she’d love that.

I honestly don’t know if anyone has tried this model. I am sure there are startups that offer such services and I am interested to hear about them. I also suspect that this kind of behavior is common (or is becoming common) in the countries where texting has been popular for years.

But I think texting has arrived in a big way in the US in the past year and it’s time for the large web commerce players to incorporate short codes and texting into their purchasing systems. It’s going to be big.