Vancouver start-up EQO ("echo") has launched a Facebook application to compliment their mobile VOIP and instant messaging application that we have covered previously. The application, Vibrator, which may provoke much interest by it's intriguing name alone, was developed in partnership with another Vancouver mobile start-up, Handi Mobility. It mimics Facebook's "Poke" feature; a user can send a "vibe" to any of their friends, consisting of a short message and animation. If the user has an EQO account, the message will route there instead and vibrate their phone. User rankings and a Vibe leaderboard give incentive to use the app. "It probably isn’t what you would expect," writes EQO Customer Evangelist Chris Richardson (currently #1 on the worldwide Vibe leaderboard), "but it’s a fun application that will likely appeal to those who like Pokes."
While the application's usefulness is limited to cute social interaction, it also acts as a clever gateway to EQO's service. The configuration page encourages signing up to EQO, and lists your friends in other countries with the rates for contacting them. EQO branding is tastefully applied throughout the application. Vibrator follows a trend that many companies are taking with Facebook, where the application is not core to the company's business, but provides peripheral value and brand exposure to new audiences. BC Hydro's Green Gifts follows this same model. Many people wonder "how can you make money with a Facebook application?" One answer is that you don't have to; there are ways that it can provide indirect value.