I think you should file a provisional patent using websites like legalzoom. It is cheap.
But in reality, No idea can be protected. The best protection is for you to be first to market and create that as a barrier to entry. Also, ideas are dime a dozen (sorry..but that is true). Everyone has them and everyone thinks it is unique. As you start digging more and researching more you will see that there are similar things that exist. But that is not necessarily a bad thing. Having similar things out there is actually a validation of your idea. You have to be laser focused then on creating differentiation .
I run a company , http://www.vaayoo.com , where entrepreuners pitch ideas. I hear 2 to 3 ideas everyday. Quite a few of them are good and can be combined with great business model. We build, launch and maintain the product for them. We take care of everything technology related and act as CTO department for the startup. All this for a small monthly subscription fee which includes hosting, feature upgrades, bug fixes etc. We launch the product fast to the market to get the first mover advantage. The Entrepreuner focusses on marketing and business development.
While we are building the product the entreprenuer can continue to have his day job and do market research. He tests the product and make sure it is as per his vision. He can continue to hold onto his day job and build the savings that are required when he decides to jump full in.
This way the entrepreuner gets to test the idea, continue to hold onto his day job until it gets traction , not have to pay huge upfront costs, not carry much risks.
A few ideas make it big in market, others fail. If they fail, the entrepreuner just calls us and discontinues paying monthly subscription costs. He moves on to his next idea.
I will be more than happy to listen to your idea and provide my feedback. You can send me email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 980-722-5857