ARCHIVES: This is legacy content from before Marketing Dive acquired Mobile Marketer in early 2017. Some information, such as publication dates, may not have migrated over. Check out the new Marketing Dive site for the latest marketing news.

Flirtomatic lets users send real Valentine's Day gifts

British mobile and online flirting service Flirtomatic is running a Valentine's Day promotion letting its users send real presents to each other and offering them new digital Valentine's Day content.

This year, aside from being able to buy and send around 30 new digital Valentines gifts, users also have the option to send one of two real items. The choice of present is between a chocolate heart and a Flirtomatic "Panty-rose," a unique combination of two of the top-selling virtual gifts.

"Strategy? It's a test -- that's why we limited numbers," said Mark Curtis, CEO of Flirtomatic, London. "We wanted to see if people would buy and send real goods off the mobile at all.

"We couldn't be sure," he said. "We've promoted it only to our own user base, as it was a test.

"The next step is to open this up."

For Valentine's Day this year, Flirtomatic decided to test offer something a little different.

According to Flirtomatic, roses and underwear such as panties are two of the most popular pieces of content sent between users -- more than 130,000 gifts sent in 2008 -- so the company decided to sell a gift combining the two, the Panty-rose.

During the trial, the limited edition chocolates and Panty-roses will be packaged up and sent out to the lucky recipients by the cupids at Flirtomatic HQ.

Users buy "Flirtpoints" from Flirtomatic using either mobile billing or a credit card entered on the Web site. They use the Flirtpoints to buy the roses or any of the digital goods that Flirtomatic is selling as gifts.

Flirtomatic is the first branded consumer service of Handmade Mobile Ltd.

Handmade Mobile Entertainment was formed in June 2004 by Avi Azulai, cofounder of iTouch plc, and Mark Curtis, a former managing partner for Fjord and Razorfish.

Launched in 2006, Flirtomatic is a real-time multimedia messaging platform that currently has more mobile than wired-Web-specific users.

Consumers can discover other members on the basis of their preferences, interests, location and other information stored in their multimedia user profile.

In May, Flirtomatic users were sending 1 million messages a day, generating 21 million Web page views and 130 million WAP page views.

Flirtomatic has received venture funding from Doughty Hanson Technology Ventures and Seraphim Capital.

Targeted at young adults -- 75 percent of users are between ages 18 and 30 -- Flirtomatic operates a free and uninterrupted service across the Web and mobile that enables users to flirt and meet new people online and via their mobile device.

Following its recent launch in Germany, Flirtomatic has launched a mobile beta in the United States (see story).

"Users are constantly surprising us with the number and type of gifts they want send to each other," Mr. Curtis said. "If this trial with real items is a success and our users enjoy it, it will be something we have to seriously consider for the future."

No brands are sponsoring Flirtomatic's Valentine's Day mobile commerce initiative, but it is something Flirtomatic plans to explore.

"None, as it is a test we did not seek any, but next time we will," Mr. Curtis said. "It does create real brand opportunities."