Rewards Network Kiip Goes Self-Serve, Announces $100K Developer Fund

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Kiip is making a big effort to recruit independent game developers today — it’s launching the self-serve version of its advertising platform, and it’s announcing a $100,000 fund to help developers build and market their Kiip-integrated games.

The startup has always pitched its rewards (such as free Pop Chips or Amazon Gift Cards) as a smart alternative to traditional mobile advertising, and going self-serve is a natural step for any advertising network trying to reach a larger number of publishers. Kiip CEO Brian Wong tells me that until now, the company only worked with a “hand-picked” developers because it had to make sure that the growth in developers didn’t outpace the growth in advertisers.

Now, however, Wong says he’s confident that there are enough advertisers for this “long-tail” approach to work. And he says that one of the big goals for the service was to make the on-boarding process as simple as possible, so that developers could integrate Kiip in just a few minutes.

To encourage developers to build games that have Kiip in mind from the beginning, the company has created what it’s calling the “Build” fund. Developers can submit their plans for a game, and 20 winners will be selected to receive $5,000 in cash.

“To a Zynga, $5,000 means nothing,” Wong says. “But to a small developer, a mom-and-pop shop, investing their own funds can be a financial burden. You should have the ability to leapfrog that obstacle.”

The winners of the Build fund will be announced on April 30.

Wong says Kiip is already showing a reward to someone every 4 seconds. The company also just recruited Zynga’s Global Director of Brand Advertising Manny Anekal to become its COO. Over the next few months, Wong’s goal is turn the company into more of a consumer brand, where players actively seek out Kiip games so that they can receive the rewards.

“It’s impossible to love an ad, but people love Kiip,” he says.

Developers can start the Kiip integration process here.