Thursday, April 03, 2008

Make this mobile. But will we still talk?

I've just added a new widget at the top left of the blog. 'Make It Mobile'. Click it and you'll have the content from this blog on your phone to take with you where-ever you go. And it'll get updated the moment I update.

The irony of sending it to your communication device is that by doing so you risk disrupting the conversation.

The 'make it mobile' badge is one of the new bits from Mippin. I've been following Mippin's progress - a system which turns rss feeds from fixed line content into mobile sites, since it launched (Mippin plays video from your feed/ Mippin: Satisfying the long tail, extending the reach of the stumpy dog). CEO Scott Beaumont joins the conversation here from time to time.

They are among the best of a crowd of challengers in this space (widsets, squace and a new one on me, kimia)

Today they've updated and the changes make it oh-so-easy to monetize your content.
And as we know from the explosion of the long tail which adsense inspired on the internet, offering an incentive to publish is a key driver for the many millions who will populate the mobile internet.

In this post when I suggested the long tail would impact mobile internet first and fast (and and Pepperonity are showing the way) I asked for the following to enable that long tail:

1. Really easy creation of mobile pages (on fixed line and on mobile)
2. Really easy ability to change the design to our tastes (and I'm thinking icons/desktop style as well as background colours and layout)
3. Ability to add and create rss feeds
4. Ability to add code snippets (ie YouTube video, google adsense)
5. Really easy share/ creator propogation (ie socially networked)
6. Enabled for social trade.
7. It has to be free to the site owner.
8. Option to offer as an application-based widget.

So how does the latest version of Mippin score?
1. If your fixed line site has a half decent rss feed it couldn't be simpler to mobilize. But you can't make a mippin site or upload content to it from your mobile.
2. The icon and desktop stuff is still illusive - but that's a nightmare to make right for every operator and every mobile, so Mippin, you are forgiven.
3. The rss feeds bit is what drives mippin. They rely on you having a fixed line site already which has them.
4. The youtube video example has now been implemented on Mippin. Add a youtube code to your blog post and it will play on the mobilized verson too. Critically they've made it easy as pie to add admob code, more easily even than admob. Type in your admob id number and mippin does the rest. Need an admob account? The links are there to guide you very swiftly.
5. Easy share stuff - well that awaits critical mass but Mippin is certainly enabled for this.
6. Enabled for social trade. Sadly not (in a mynumo kind of way) but what the hey.
7. Free to the site owner. Yes yes.
8. Widgetised. No. You can't create a widget to share on anyone's phone's 'desktop' or homepage. But there is a widget (now added to this blog) for your fixed line page which makes it a one-click operation for a user to get your content optimised for their phone, on their phone.

So, a round of applause chaps. I'm trying the admob ads on the mobile version, though I don't expect too many to be queueing up to place ads on my content, but I do seek to understand how easy it is to achieve.

One thought/question: doesn't share revenues with the people who create its content. Their users are inspired enough by two things which make this possible:

1. The owner of the UGC (publisher) gets to control whether or not they have ads of any kind on their content. If they do choose to have ads then they can also select what kind (as referred to in my posts about Mobile Internet in Berlin earlier this week) and in this respect the user begins to think of the ads as content - not as an unwelcome interruption.
I'm hoping that they get to select at a quite granular level ie which brands, even which exact ads. I need to revist to confirm. Perhaps a more regular user can tell me?

The right brands on your content allows you to show the world what kind of person you are.
It's a nice reversal of the usual routine in which brand owners decide who or what to associate their brand with through where they choose to advertise. In this model the user gets to select which brands WE wish to be associated with.

Is this another example of the intention economy? Trust me? trust my brands!
Since most users in the Itsmy environment are likley to trust their peers more than a brand in the first place, this could prove very powerful.

2. Only content created on a mobile is allowed on itsmy. That means a) it's all guaranteed to be the users own (written, shot, or filmed on their phone) and b) it all comes from the point-of-inspiration device that is your mobile. The result is users share the content they create very rapidly - and upload lots of it, creating loads of advertising opportunities as they go. Being able to publish at the point they are inspired becomes a driver in and of itself, as CEO Antonio Vince Staybl discussed in Berlin.

Mippin speaks to a need. The need to extend reach into the mobile space for anyone who is creating their content on fixed line.

Itsmy speaks to the need of those who are inspired to create, publish and share as they live their life, where ever they are and what ever they are doing (data charges allowing!).

In theory of course, if you use something like shozu to add content to your blog... and your blog feeds into your mippsite, then you can share at point of inspiration, too. Bit of a stretch though?

Wonder if you can turn an itsmy site into a Mippin one? Would that make for an unholy mess or a double whammy?

I suspect the former for a relatively simple reason. Mippin is a broadcast model. Itsmy is a networked one.

No matter how much of my rss feed is published, the one thing you can't do via mippin is add a comment to the original blog post, or even on the version of it that appears on mippin.
You can vote on my Mippsite in its entirety, you can send a link to a particular post by email. You can twitter it. You can share it on facebook. And these are all very socially enabling, all about sharing after all.
But in each case in order to join the conversation I must send the user away AND hope they are also a member of the community in which we could actually have the conversation. And in this respect the model misses out on the creation-at-the-point-of-inspiration power of the mobile AND the exponential growth potential of connecting up the nodes.

This has to inhibit its fit with the networked world.

This is not necessarily a criticism. And if it is, it is certainly one which can also be levelled at Mippins RSS-fed rivals. Mippin is, after all, an attempt to mobilize the broadcast, publish-from-the-centre, world. The fact that it turns the humble blogger into a broadcaster too is perhaps just a casualty of this.

So, for the record, if you do read one of my blogposts on mippin, please try to keep your inspiration burning long enough to get to a fixed line or full internet version of the blog and join in the conversation then. Send yourself a text reminder or email alert (hey Scott - add that as a button!)

The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?