Why buy mobile content when you can just rip it off from the Web? This is a pretty good idea that targets the mindset of a teenager, who wants all the cool new wallpapers and ringtones for their phone, and will go to pretty big lengths not to pay for it. Palo Alto, Calif.-based Berggi, which launched a mobile email product a year and a half ago, launched a new product today called ZipClip with plans to officially announce it tomorrow. The application must be downloaded to the phone and and your computer, which is then a plug-in for both Firefox and Internet Explorer. Then, when a person is online and sees a piece of content they like — a video, photo, image, graphic, animation, avatar, or even audio clip, — they right click over the content, and then pick send to phone. They can also send it to a friend. The content doesn’t appear as an SMS, but rather stored on ZipClip’s servers and accessible through the application on the phone. Right now, a Java, Symbian and Blackberry version is available with iPhone support coming in October. The Blackberry version can be used on either AT&T (NYSE: T) or Sprint (NYSE: S). Outside the U.S., it’s available through most carriers, and a Chinese version will launch in August in time for the Olympics, said Babur Ozden, Berggi’s CEO.
In an online demo, Ozden showed me how it works. The user can highlight a chunk of text, right click and send it to their phone. They can right click on a YouTube video, and either watch that on their phone, or strip off the audio portion and use it as a ringtone. There’s also a ringtone maker, which allows a person to pick any portion of a song for varying lengths, and send that to their phone. He showed me how images can be found on Google (NSDQ: GOOG), Facebook, or even sites like 123greetings.com that have little illustrations that could easily serve as a wallpaper. Ozden dismissed the idea that they could run into copyright protections, and has a self-policing mentality. “We expect the end-users will be sensitive enough. If it’s a copyrighted area, they should not use it. If the content is digitally protected, when they right click, nothing happens. If the Web site has certain rules, but it’s not digitally protected, we expect our users to adhere to those rules.”
The service is free, so it’s the company’s goal to monetize in three different ways in the future. First, it will create a premium version to users who want to increase their inbox size on their servers. Second, they will try to develop premium channels, where people can choose to pay for content; and lastly, they’ll rely on advertising after the user base reaches a certain size.