New site takes your social networking on the road - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

FRIDAY, October 1, 2010

New site takes your social networking on the road

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LA JOLLA (CBS 8) - Have you ever wanted to let someone know their car alarm has been going off for over an hour? Or what you think about their driving, or how they took up two spaces in the parking lot? There's a new application that puts a new social network for the road in the palm of your hands.

The invention of social networks like Twitter and Facebook have really made the world a much smaller place. So the question is, is there really a need for another social network? One guy in La Jolla thinks so and this one involves your car>

"(Bump) allows anyone anywhere to send a message to another party via their car license plate," Bump.com CEO and co-founder Mitch Thrower said.

Yes, you heard Mitch Thrower correctly. Mitch and his team have secretly worked for the past year to create what he believes is the next big thing.

"I look at those hundred parked cars and I see an @ symbol on the back of every car," he said.

It's also a way for drivers to communicate. For example, if you see someone talking on their cell phone. If you wanted to you could slow down, look at the license plate number and send that person's car or them a message that you're not happy.

"It's an idea everyone has had and at some point we've always wanted to communicate and all we've had is a horn or a note to write on someone's car or a middle finger," Mitch said.

It's not all about sending nastygrams. You could also let someone know you think they're attractive too, among other things.

"Our system lets you send a message to that car saying your brake lights out your car alarm is going off," Mitch said.

Since the site is in Beta testing right now you can't send an actual message to someone with your phone, but you can send an email.

"We assigned an email address to every registered vehicle in the country," Mitch said.

The company is increasing its online advertising as it prepares to launch, and gave us an exclusive sneak peek of the iPhone Bump app. Besides messaging, companies could cash in too.

"We read the plate, we then attach all the order data to the plate and it becomes effectively a real world cookie," Mitch said.

Companies could essentially know your potential order next time, or offer up discounts for repeat visits.

While some may throw up privacy red flags, Mitch says the user has the ability to control how much information anyone will ever see.

This month, Bump will also launch a 1-800 number where you can call and leave a voicemail message for the license plate holder. Of course, if the person isn't registered on the site, they won't get the messages until they do.

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