At a recent family get-together, my cousin showed off his latest iPhone applications. One of the more amusing was iBeer, an application that creates the appearance of filling your iPhone (or iPod Touch) with foaming beer, and then drinking or pouring it by tipping the phone. One look, and I was sold.
iBeer is classified as "entertainment" software, but as it turns out, it's only entertaining for the people you show it to. Seeing someone else demonstrate it may make you want to get it, but once you do, it's only use is to demonstrate it to others. After all, it's not very satisfying to drink by yourself, and especially when it's only pretend beer. And when you're "drinking" it, you can't even see the screen to watch it drain.
This is the ultimate product! It's only purpose is to sell itself. In effect, this is the essence of viral marketing. Anyone who buys it instantly becomes a sales person by showing it to others.
And yet, this seems much more innocent than the I Am Rich iPhone application that caused such a buzz. I guess the fun of showing it to others, and watching their amusement, is the return on investment.