Web Services from Everyman

I'm switching servers again... I decided that the stuff I'm working on might warrant a bigger machine with more bandwidth and disk space, so I'm moving over to RackShack. They have a great deal on a dedicated box which I can use as a stepping stone to move powerful servers as I need them. I'm getting the cheapest server they have - a 1.3 Mhz Celeron with 512MB RAM, 60GB disk space and 400GB bandwidth per month, all for $99. That's 10 times the disk space, memory and bandwidth that I have now for not much more than I'm paying now. Thanks to Jock (again) for pointing it out to me!

I think we may have come back around to the point where anyone can throw up a web site again! Remember back in the mid 90s when anyone could throw up a server and be on the web? Then things got out of hand. Application servers demanded more power, hardware was relatively expensive and hosting centers cost a ton. I remember when I was looking around in 1999 for similar disk space/bandwidth for my multimedia project and it thousands of dollars a month for this type of service. But now, it's really possible!

I've been thinking about offering disk space in my project... if I offered 10MB of space to every user (for cash, by the way, not as a free service) which I know sounds measly for a PC, but is actually a ton for a phone, I could host 5,000+ users with the disk space I've got now. Hell, if I had 5,000 paying users, I might have a real business...

Anyways, I think it's great that I don't have to discount web services any more because of cost considerations. Even if this hardware isn't enough to host 1000 paying users or even 500, the incremental costs of adding more servers make economic sense! Once again, it's not as great a business model as selling software because instead of every new user offsetting the original cost of development, with a service you end up having more costs in bandwidth, support, disk space, etc.

But in my mind, the fact is that with mobile businesses, piracy is going to take a HUGE chunk out of the mobile software market and mobile operators LIKE services since they bump up ARPUs (average revenue per user). It's a different world than PCs and is going to need a different way of looking at the biz models.

Personally, now that I'm thinking realistically about services, I think I'm going to include a "mobile Netflix" in the mix somewhere, but for games, not movies. Soon there are going to be hundreds if not thousands of mobile games and apps available. This is going to make it more and more difficult for game makers to make a buck. Because of this competition, the carriers are going to take bigger and bigger chunks out of the revenue for the developers. Bigger than the huge chunk they're already taking... So how's this model: For a subscription fee, among other services, a mobile phone user could be allowed to download up to 5 games every month. Like I explained before, J2ME apps are disposable because there's NO way to export them from your phone by design. So what's the revenue model? Well, how much money is a developer making now from the "aggregators"? I paid �3 apiece for super-professional games from Movistar the other day. How much did the development shop get? �1? Probably not. �0.75? less? I've seen deals where up to 80% of the price of the game goes to the middle man. The model for this is straight forward, pay the same amount or more to the developer and include the price in the cost of the subscription. Play the numbers games like all subscription services based on the fact that probably 50% or less of the subscribers will download ALL 5 games a month. I'm positive this would work out.

The web's getting exciting again!

Okay, that's my brain dump for tonight. Back to work.


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