KickApps Gets iPhone-Friendly with Video, Formatting

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KickApps, provider of a platform for building white label social networks, will announce today that it has taken two initiatives to make the social networks hosted on its platform more accessible to iPhone users. First, all videos uploaded to KickApps affiliate networks will be viewable on the iPhone despite the device’s lack of Flash support. Secondly, the company is releasing developer tools that will enable affiliates to format their networks for display on the iPhone.

As of August 24th, KickApps has begun automatically converting uploaded videos to both Flash and QuickTime format. Over the next month or so, the company will also be converting its entire back catalogue of Flash videos to QuickTime. When an iPhone user attempts to view a KickApps-hosted video, he or she will be dished up a QuickTime file, whereas desktop clients will continue to load the standard Flash applet.

While technically speaking this probably wasn’t too hard to pull off, it is a nice gesture by KickApps to potential customers who see the things that other Web 2.0 companies – like Facebook, Meebo, and Netvibes – are doing with the iPhone and want in on the action. As the first white label social networking platform to roll out iPhone features, it also earns the company some bragging rights.

Given that Apple will likely add Flash support to the iPhone before too long, their second announcement about formatting KickApps networks for the iPhone will have longer lasting significance. The company will now allow affiliates to create two CSS files for each of their networks’ pages: one to style the page for a regular browser and one for the iPhone. The appropriate stylesheet will be served after a snippet of JavaScript determines the client’s browsing environment.

KickApps has created a test network (pictured above) at KickFlix.net to demonstrate how formatting and video playback works on the iPhone. While not terribly pretty, this demo lists videos and members in a way that fits nicely into the iPhone’s smaller screen. Unfortunately, the company did not also format the actual video and member pages for the iPhone. This oversight makes me wonder how easy it will actually be for affiliates to create CSS files that make all of their networks’ pages fit the iPhone.

While these offerings feel a bit like KickApps rushed to get them out the door, it’s good to see them taking the lead in the highly congested white label social networking space. Let’s hope that other companies like Ning follow suit.

For more coverage of KickApps, see our recent roundup of do-it-yourself, hosted social networking solutions.

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