Flirtomatic gets people paying to flirt Down Under

Flirtomatic, the freemium mobile and online flirting service from UK startup Handmade Mobile Ltd, has launched in Australia through ninemsn, one of the most popular websites in that country.

The agreement will see Flirtomatic initially launched with major carriers using existing ninemsn content relationships. Ninemsn’s digital sales team, the largest in Australia, will handle all advertising sales, whilst its 5th Finger subsidiary will take care of SMS messaging.

Flirtomatic’s launch in Australia is its third international launch in the last year. The company says its services in Germany and the US are growing quickly and building momentum both through ‘off deck’ and ‘on deck’ marketing.

The expansion into Australia is a clear sign that Flirtomatic is seen as a proven mobile product capable of generating revenue from the get go. Its 1.4m strong user base of flirtatious young adults with disposable cash sends over 25m messages a month and generates over 100m WAP page views a month.

The service makes money through advertising and selling customers premium services. Customers buy ‘Flirt Points’ paying either by credit card or by adding the cost to their mobile phone bill. They can then spend their points on premium features such as sending virtual gifts, promoting themselves and finding out exactly who has rated them. Users are sending over 1m virtual gifts to each other per year.

There’s also an advertising component to the business model, with standard banner ads and integrated ad campaigns such as Strongbow’s free pint offer in June 2008. Users sent each other more than 385,000 virtual pints of cider, which could be turned into redeemable vouchers for a real pint. Strongbow saw a 10% click through rate on the virtual pints for people to redeem their coupon.

Flirtomatic has received undisclosed venture funding from Doughty Hanson Technology Ventures and Seraphim Capital.