Tag Archives: mobile aggregator

The IPO is Nice. But Quiet is Kept, Facebook’s Micropayments Are the Truth!

With this IPO, big brother is getting bigger.

While everyone is agog over Facebook’s IPO, and $100 billion valuation, blah blah blah, a more interesting undercurrent (for me at least) is the fact that they made more than half a billion dollars from micropayments on their payments platform.

More than half a billion dollars from micropayments!

If you’re not familiar with micropayments, they’re discreet payments made within platforms like Facebook, to purchase real and (often) virtual goods.

Micropayments (or micro-transactions) were initially developed as a way of enabling the sale of online content.

They were envisioned as small payments ranging from a few cents to a few dollars.

Micropayment transactions enabled people to sell content on the internetand served as an alternative to advertising revenue, which was traditionally the only real way to make money online (we’re talking pre-ecommerce proper).

Having been steeped in the mobile world, I’m abundantly familiar with micropayments, and the impact that integrating a seamless billing mechanism can have on a campaign, business or business model.

Micropayments work well on mobile because content companies connected to mobile aggregators are able to tap directly into the carriers’ billing systems.

As such, they enable subscribers to purchase ringtones, wallpapers subscribe to alerts and other premium programs, without having to input credit card or other payment details.

KGBKGB made a killing on mobile!

KGBKGB was one of the most successful mobile content companies to implement an effective premium campaign using mobile billing.

KGBKGB is like Wikipedia for your phone. Text a question to 542542, and for 99 cents, they’ll send you the answer.

Other companies, seeing the success of KGBKGB, soon were launching their own programs, leveraging WAP or mobile sites, to offer increasingly sophisticated products and services to mobile subscribers.

Zynga made mirco-transactions a real strategy for social media gamers.

If you’re familiar with Zynga, then you’ve probably seen the most effective application of micropayments in a mobile, online or social media context.

Zynga, the creators of Mafia Wars and Farmville (among their other titles) popularized the practice of encouraging users to pay real money for virtual goods and currency.

If another person sends me a Farmville request....

Built primarily within Facebook’s platform, Zynga’s social media games, allow users to make purchases within their games, monetizing their games.

I’m sure that a large part of Facebook’s micropayment revenue comes from Zynga’s successful implementation of it’s intra-game payment model.

Facebook’s payment platform, which game developers are required to use, is becoming an increasing contributor to it’s revenues, making Facebook less reliant on advertising sales as the sole revenue generator.

Much in the same way that Apple takes a percentage from music publishers and authors who make their content available for sale in their store, Facebook takes a piece of every payment transaction within it’s platform

A large part of why Facebook may continue to be successful, comes from the popularity of their platform and developers’ desire to access this massive audience.

I’m sure that their IPO will be equally successful, as folks belly up to the bar to get a piece of what may invariably be the largest initial public offering ever.

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Go mobile or go the way of the dinosaur.

Ad & Marketing Industry News

Last night, I read an article in AdAge about how both Google and Facebook were staking their respective futures on mobile, and how mobile was increasingly becoming the foundation of their efforts.

The Marksmen are a production unit ahead of their time.

Since 2005, when I started working with The Marksmen, developing applications that could be accessed and utilized from mobile devices (it all started with the Treo), I knew that mobile represented the future of computing.

Notice I said “computing” as opposed to content consumption or the internet, because with the advent of the smartphone, there are fewer and fewer things that one can do exclusively on a PC that can’t be done on a mobile device.

It was while at DOT.TUNES that I cut my mobile teeth.

From there it was DOT.TUNES, the first mobile application developed for the iPhone BEFORE the release of the iPhone SDK, which allowed users to remotely access their entire iTunes library directly from their mobile devices (even if it wasn’t an iPhone – holla!).

I even did a stint at MX Telecom (now OpenMarket), one of the largest mobile aggregators in the world, to learn about the ins-and-outs of the mobile industry, from the perspective of the underlying technology behind SMS/MMS/PSMS/Wap, mobile billing, etc.

Ever since, I have been preaching about the importance of mobile to anyone who would listen.

I tell virtually all the clients I consult, that they need to adopt a mobile strategy.

Set up a basic SMS service.

Build a mobile version (or mobile optimized version) of your website.

Create a brand specific mobile app.

Do anything to incorporate some mobile elements to your brand identity or risk going the way of the dinosaur.

I’m saying, if Google and Facebook are banking so heavily on it, doesn’t it seem to make good business sense?

They’re only multi-billion dollar companies.

Clearly, there is some wisdom to their actions.

WeHarlem knows mobile. Do you WeHarlem?

Recently, I’ve been speaking with Sergio Lilavois, one of the founding partners of WeHarlem, an interactive e-community for those that live, work or socialize in Harlem.

WeHarlem has launched several innovative initiatives directed squarely at harnessing and applying the power of mobile devices.

They have a social media website, WeHarlem.com, which links residents and local businesses.

In addition, they developed device specific applications, for the iPhone, Blackberry and Android devices, giving WeHarlem users the ability to access all of WeHarlem’s features on-the-go.

One of the most valuable features of WeHarlem’s mobile app, is the Wi-Fi locator, which enables users to find Harlem businesses offering free Wi-Fi in their establishments.

WeHarlem’s strategy involves providing Harlem residents and businesses with bi-directional utility, generating foot-traffic, loyalty and retention.

We’re in discussions right now to help bring businesses even deeper into the fold, by offering services to enable them to more closely connect with their target audiences using mobile and social media technology.

There have been other shining moments, when the strategies I propose actually gain a foothold.

Vincent Morgan, for example, knew immediately that he wanted it all, a mobile version of his primary website and an SMS alert service.

Although he failed in his efforts to dethrone Charles Rangel, he succeeded in rewriting the way candidates utilize the web, social media and mobile in their campaigns.

Anyway, the AdAge article renewed my passion for evangelizing mobile and I will continue to preach the value of mobile to all who will listen!

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