Mippin monetises feeds for mobile

Next Story

Watch YouTube Videos In Google Earth

Yesterday I went along (proof) to the demo by Refresh Mobile of their new service: Mippin.

Refresh – backed by Accel Partners – is best known for creating the Mobizines service (which in many ways almost became a noun in it’s own right) only last year. The idea there was that site owners could have their content wrapped in a Mobizine java client and have advertising set against is. But clearly the idea was hard to execute. Refresh had to go to every content owner individually and manually get them onto the service. Plus users had to download the Java client, often a barrier to entry. Even with these limits, Mobizines managed to get almost 300 content owners on board. But as anyone knows, a universe of 300 sites just won’t cut it.

So instead Refresh went back to the drawing board and realised what was perhaps obvious from the start. The key to pulling down content for mobile lay in RSS feeds.

The resulting Mippin is a kind’ve mashup of the ideas behind various other mobile-enabling services out there. The new service now intelligently sucks in RSS feeds from sites as you surf on your mobile. Once someone has requested a site on Mippin, it remembers and stores that site’s feed, hence why it can scale so much faster than Mobizine, and already has 2,000 feeds in the database. The interface is also very simple and clean to use, in contrast to many Java apps.

Mippin reminded me slightly of Mowser. But where where Mowser transcodes a whole site to make it more mobile screen friendly, Mippin is simply taking the RSS feed from a news site or blog and giving it a mobile sheen. That’s where it gets far easier for mainstream mobile users, since all they neeed to do is use their existing mobile browser. Plus, the new model offers greater opportunity for mobile advertising.

Co-Founder Scott Beaumont told me that Mippin will pull in any requested feed, but it won’t change the feed, nor set any advertising against it unless they are contacted by the feed owner. Of course, what this means is that Mippin can now approach the sites which appear to be getting a lot of traffic on Mippin, and then sell them an advertising revenue share deal (typically 80 per cent goes to the publisher).

Currently Mippin is in open beta while the service is tweaked but they expect to have a database of around 25,000 feeds by the end of this year. That beats trying to pull in content owners by phone.

And what of Mobizines? Refresh plans to continue to support it, but won’t be signing any new customers.

  • http://phone-guide.com/mippincom-captures-internet-info-via-mobile-phone.php mippin.com Captures Internet Info Via Mobile Phone

    […] Via TechCrunch UK […]

  • Agency guy

    Problem with this is that not many sites put full content in their RSS – because they want to drive traffic (like PaidContent, for example) to their site.

    So you still have to click through to the clunky site to read full articles, unless Refresh can peruade media owners to give them a full text feed. Which they won’t do until money is on the table.

    So I son’t really see how ths is going to work, I guess refresh has to persuade media owners to supply full feeds against a promise of revenue. So I hope his sales team is up to scratch, which may not be the case as I saw in NMA this week they had let 20 staff go (ouch).

  • Mike Butcher

    Full feeds is really the end-game for the future. Traffic as a business model is gradually on it’s way out, which is why even the ABCe now emphasises unique users over impressions now. Any site worth it’s salt now monetises the full feed, and gets greater diistribution as a result. No?

  • http://mippin.com Prashant Agarwal

    Mike, you are dead on. The smart publishers are definitely moving in the direction of going with full feeds. Ultimately, you want to be able to syndicate your content to where the users are and rely less on having them to come to your site. So if your users are mobile or love reading your content on a desktop RSS reader, let them and place the ads where the users are reading you content.

    We have over 500 sites in our directory and another 1500 that are searchable. And we focused on full feeds. Certainly there are some big names that are excluded but over time this will change and we’ll have some great case studies based on the content we currently have. These are the top 20 most popular sites so far, all with full feeds:
    BBC News (2742 views)
    New York Times (1224 views)
    TOTAL FILM (1208 views)
    Glamour (1022 views)
    DesiHits! (890 views)
    Click Music (845 views)
    The Bastardly (785 views)
    T3 (720 views)
    Mobile Games (694 views)
    OK! Magazine (666 views)
    Pics of the Week (627 views)
    Blogs on Mobile (609 views)
    Perez Hilton (538 views)
    S60 applications (534 views)
    GQ (527 views)
    IntoMobile (478 views)
    Daily Star (421 views)
    Biskero (400 views)
    SMS Text News (381 views)
    Funny Pictures (374 views)

  • Agency guy

    Good grief. This is what happens when everyone talks about a subject without the people who actually make the decision being involved.
    So here’s a reply from someone who hasn’t got a vested interest, unlike the guy above.

    Mike – always respected your opinion but you just lost it there. Traffic as a way out? You crazy? Page impressions are unimportant, but that’s because of editorial considerations and a quest for increased usability – Yahoo adopting Ajax, CNET putting reviews all on one page instead of three etc etc. That’s the reason for looking at unique users, it’s about reach and engagement, not page impressions.

    Traffic as a business model is like saying events doon’t make money from attendess, or that virtual events will repleace real life events.

    Traffic is vital. The majority of the display ad spend is bought on CPM’s -that may change to users in time. But that market as a whol is not on its wayout. It’s not just about the user, it’s about the environment that user is in. Where the article is read is still important.

    No, all publishers are not going to suddenly put full feeds in RSS format. Really. When in-feed advertising is on a par with current site CPM yields and can comfortably replace it as a business model , then maybe. But that isn’t anytime soon, and the agencies and publishers are way too far down the line in their existing revenue lines.

    When, before writing this reply, I consulted the bizdev director of Europe’s 2nd largest online-only publisher (note I said publisher i.e. a company that invests in proper journalists), he laughed his head off and asked me if I was crazy, then added if they could make him $50 million in a year which is what they did in CPM then they would look into it.

    Does the BBC make programmes that ITV can sell ads against on a rev share basis? Does IPC generate content for EMAP to monetise? No. So why the hell would any sane publisher generate content for people to use off-brand? Sure you can syndicate, as most do, at a premium and with strict brand controls. BVut what about the peripheral navigation, the concept of discovery of other things that interest people on a website?

    In a UGC world, people need guides and experts pointing the way, and the content owners know this is them. There has been no serious commercial threat from the blogosphere (the UK buying points don’t take them seriously).

    Also, we have to get out of our media heads and realise that actually the use of RSS in the general population is minimal – about 8%.

    Come on, Mike, get with the programme. The publishers aren’t going to disrupt the business model they have spent ages migrating to anytime soon.

    What’s going to kill Mippin is the big screen phones – soo they’ll mostly be able to manage to display the web how it is.
    btw Prashant – those view statistics are so low they are not a sales point.

  • Mike Butcher

    Agency Guy – Great comment. Like your style. I guess what I am saying is that I think that full feeds are a long term trend. You are of course correct that traffic is the big metric right now. Perhaps it’s the case that niche publishers – like blogs – are finding that they get greater audience retention from offering a full feed. It’s an ongoing debate I guess.

  • Agency guy

    It’s an ongoing debate about whether it’s the future….I think the smaller-trafficked sites try more different things to get awareness. If you are already making good money online, then full feed RSS is not attractive.

    Keep it up Mike – but post more often. It’s like one post a day at the moment. Don’t make me read NetImperative….please…..

  • Mike Butcher

    FYI Netimperative is totally different. If you want SEO press releases go there. Otherwise, stick around.

  • Agency guy

    That’s not very nice, given you used to work with the founders. at NMA (also shit online)… ;-)

  • http://uk.techcrunch.com/2008/07/09/mippins-vc-joins-as-ceo/ TechCrunch UK » Blog Archive » Mippin’s VC joins as CEO

    […] that’s got to mean they are pretty confident of your ability to execute. We reviewed Mippin when it launched. CrunchBase Information RefreshMobile Judy Gibbons Information provided by CrunchBase […]

  • http://uk.techcrunch.com/2009/01/22/mippin-tweaks-its-rss-reader-for-iphoneg1-but-do-we-really-care/ Mippin tweaks its RSS reader for iPhone/G1, but do we really care?

    […] the trouble is, Mippin’s business model – monetising RSS feeds tailored specifically for mobile by sharing revenue with publishers – could have a real up-hill battle getting […]

  • http://advertising.wisdomaboutmarketing.com/fedex-billboard-dude-protects-your-stuff-from-mud-awesome/ FedEx Billboard Dude Protects Your Stuff From Mud | Awesome … | Advertising Marketing Wisdom

    […] Mippin monetises feeds for mobile […]

blog comments powered by Disqus