Mobile Publishing

Anyone who's heard about how mobile phones are next big thing for software application developers have constantly heard about the exponentially greater number of mobile phone users there are as compared to PC users. So even though you'll only be able to sell your app for $5 a pop which is one fifth of what you might normally charge for it, you'll be selling it to ten times the number of people, so all is good.

Okay, so any of you think that's crap? Well, I have to admit, I believe that sort of conventional wisdom, but still thought it was a few years out. That's why this article I just found over at Mobenta from a week ago blew my socks off:

Sprint and Wireless Gaming Review Trumpet Success of Mobile Publishing

Since launch, 1.25 million readers and 650,000 game purchase referrals through the publication on PCS Visionsm

Cambridge, Mass - January 8, 2004

By putting great content right where interested readers can use it, Sprint and Wireless Gaming Review have demonstrated the future of mobile publishing. In June of 2003, the two companies launched a mobile version of, the leading website for wireless game reviews, on select Java-enabled PCS Vision phones. Through this publication, Vision customers can quickly access pithy reviews of the best wireless games available to them.

After only 6 months, the audience for this mobile publication has topped 1.25 million readers. Sprint and Wireless Gaming Review also implemented a “Click to Buy” feature for the mobile publication that enables interested readers to quickly download the reviewed game from Sprint. Currently, an average of 18,000 game purchases per week are referred to Sprint via the Sprint version of

“We’re amazed with the success of the wireless version of on Sprint,” said Matthew Bellows, President of Wireless Gaming Review. “The way that readers have responded to the publication proves that the mobile publishing medium has a huge potential. By putting great content in the most relevant place, we’re giving readers what they want, and building a pro?table business.”

“Sprint has built a mobile games community through its PCS Vision service. Through our partnership with a trusted game source, Wireless Gaming Review, our customers can make educated decisions about their game purchases,” said Jeff Hallock, vice president of consumer product marketing for Sprint.

The publication on Sprint can be accessed by selecting “Top Game Reviews” from the Sprint Games menu.

HOLY CRAP. Those are *amazing* numbers. 650k referrals? That means 650k apps were purchased since last June, or around 100k a month, just from the people reading this "on mobile magazine" (a completely new area that I had never considered before!). Think about this for a second - you *know* that WGR is getting referral fees for each game that a consumer buys from their site. How much do you think? $1 a referrer? That'd be $650k in their pocket. 50 cents? Then fine, $300k, which is still pretty good for a small-time gaming magazine, don't you think?

So wow. I am *amazed.* This company has what is basically a mobile game weblog, but is published on Sprint's phones and is driving 100k consumers a month to buy apps. Sprint, of course, is CDMA and therefore using the BREW system to manage all these downloads which means 1) they have many ways they can charge for these games and services, 2) Qualcomm got 10% of all that [update: Sprint uses J2ME. (Duh). Now which software are they using to manage the downloads and charges?] and 3) the actual software developers are getting cash in their pockets as well.

This is all good. That's just one carrier with a limited amount of handsets... I'm seriously thinking about going out tomorrow and getting a cheap contract with Sprint so I can keep up with this stuff... I had no idea this stuff was going on.

650k referrers? Insane. I don't know what blows my mind more, the new form of publishing, the number of games sold or just the money that's to be made in the future if this is just the beginning... I'm still in shock.


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