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Paris Hilton app on path to becoming recommendation engine for products

Paris Hilton is running a new mobile contest on her official iPhone application, encouraging consumers to insert images of her into their photos and submit them to win prizes.

The contest is just another step in the development of the Paris Hilton app as developer Velti looks for ways to monetize it. In addition to download fees, Velti wants to build out the app as a recommendation platform that would bring in referral fees.

“Mobile is a new medium for her to be extending her brand to, much like social media,” said Grant Cohen, director of mobile solutions at Velti, San Francisco. “The contest is a very neat way for her to get herself and her brand out there to the masses in a fun, hip and buzzworthy way.”

“The goal is to really engage her fan base through mobile, draw support for her and her brand and support the launch of her new show,” he said.

The timing of the contest coincides with the release of Ms. Hilton’s new television show, “The World According to Paris.” The new show began airing on June 1 at 10 p.m. on the Oxygen cable channel.

Ms. Hilton launched an iPhone app in February to build her brand and engage with fans.

One of the app’s more unique elements is the BFF feature which enables users to insert several different Paris Hilton silhouettes into their own photos so it looks like Ms. Hilton was actually there when the photo was taken.

Paris recommends
The BFF feature is one the most popular on the Paris Hilton app since it was launched several months ago, per Mr. Cohen.

Another popular feature is called “That’s Hot,” and enables users to upload photos in several different categories so that other fans can vote if it is hot or not.

The app also includes quizzes, fun facts, quotes and videos of Ms. Hilton’s commercials and interviews in other countries.

The app is available for download from the iTunes App Store for 99 cents.

There is also a list of Ms. Hilton’s favorite songs, movies and TV shows featured on the app. When users click through to iTunes to download some of this content, Ms. Hilton is paid a referral fee.

Long-term, Velti is looking to build out the recommendation portion of the app by introducing goods and services.

“We want to have it be more of a recommendation platform that recommends all types of products, and users can click through and purchase directly,” Mr. Cohen said.

Paris backs to the hilt
Mr. Cohen said that Ms. Hilton has been very involved in the app’s development.

“Paris came to us and asked us to build the app,” he said. “She also gave us her own personal photos that fans wouldn’t otherwise see.”

To enter the contest, fans can download the app from the iTunes App Store, use the “BFF” feature to have Paris inserted into their photo and submit it to [email protected].

Alternatively, anyone can create a photo using the official templates and email it in.

The grand prize is a $500 gift basket. There are also prizes for first and second runners-up.

The contest ends on June 3 and the winner will be announced on the site at on June 7.

“To coincide with the launch of the show, Paris wants to drive as much awareness as possible and we thought that this would be a fun way to do it,” Mr. Cohen said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily