Is there such a concept left in the lexicon as mobile blogging, or “moblogging”? The mobile world has long been converging with the online world and is en route towards mainstream adoption, thanks to devices like the iPhone and services like Twitter. Accompanying mashups, like Twitpic and Twixtr blur the lines between “presence” updates, micro-blogging and photo-blogging. Social networks are now taking huge advantage of the iPhone to allow mobile content creation, and now services like Qik, Flixwagon and Kyte are mobilising video. What is left to be done in this space that’s new?
Well, the UK-based Moblog.net thinks that a platform play remains to be done and plans to tackle it in few different ways. They are launching (deep breath) an API, a hosted solution for anyone to create a mobile blogging community, integration with Spinvox (you can create a blog just by calling into the site) Shozu, Groups and domain mapping. They will also do what many web-based startups can’t do which is geotag incoming SMS and MMS – something the average Web-only startup would find hard to do. With A-GPS handsets finally coming into the mobile world, especially in Europe, this will be significant. They are also focusing on the ease of account creation. As well as using the web or a mobile to set up a profile, you can send an SMS or calling a number in the UK, USA, France, Germany, and Spain.
But who cares about texts, right? Well, in the UK, France, Germany and Italy, as well as the US and Canada, text messaging remains by far the most popular non-voice mobile service, and makes the largest single contribution to the data revenues of mobile operators. Internet access via mobile is still a relatively early market (sorry for the reality check). So SMS and MMS is still an important market to play in.
Moblog.net is actually a two year old startup, which has until now concentrated on being a client- driven business. Clients meant the site has brought in £100,000 a year in revenues, so they haven’t had to rely on seed funding at all. However, that’s changing in favour of creating a platform.
The problem with Moblog’s plan however, is that other platforms can extend to mobile now. WordPress, or Ning, or even Facebook for instance, could extend to facilitate mobile better – just look at the native apps on the iPhone. In theory a mobile-focused site could have an edge, but it looks tough in the face of such leviathans. The other thing not in Moblog’s favour however is its interface, which is stuck in 2002, and needs re-doing, pronto, of the service won’t take off as a platform.