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Celebrity Waves
Jan 12, 1998 :: Michael Sippey

Once upon a time, PGP keys from the digerati were slated to be the next collectible. Wired types around the globe would measure the length of their "key rings" by the number of industry wonks that graced their pubring file.

     "Hey, look, I have Nicholas Negroponte!"
     "Oh, yeah, well I have Vint Cerf! And Marc Andreessen!"
     "I'll trade you your Vint Cerf and your Marc Andreessen for my Kibo."
     "Kibo? C'mon, you know that ain't even close to being authenticated."

But since we're still sending plaintext email, and the Internet has gone a bit more Hollywood, the next bit-based collectible won't be keys, but WAVs. As always, AOL is on the blunt edge of this trendlet, offering celebrity email notifications. Rosie O'Donnell, David Letterman, Dennis Rodman and seven other celebrities have donated their own personal intonation of "You've Got Mail!" to the online service.

With the connected PC usually sporting multiple mailboxes and instant messaging services, sound notifications are the only way to keep track of what's coming in where. In order to extend their brand into the (home) office, celebrities should coopt the trend of movie soundbites being swiped as WAVs. Instead, they should have their studios distribute one to two second snippets of Soundblaster-friendly audio for their fans to use...and trade.

     "I've got DeNiro saying 'You messaging me?'"
     "Cool. I'll trade you that for Chris Farley saying 'Goodbye.'"

This is an opportunity that Juno -- the free e-mail provider everyone keeps forgetting about -- could really take to the limit. Through an exclusive arrangement with Entertainment Tonight, Juno could offer unique soundbite-driven advertising opportunities to the entertainment industry. Log on to grab your Junomail at 7:30 on a Thursday night, and you could be alerted by one of the Friends...

     "You've got mail, but don't spend too much time reading it because on tonight's episode of Friends Ross and Rachel finally get back together!"



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