January 23, 2008

myGamma Nominated for Global Mobile Award - Best Mobile Social Networking

We're very excited to announce that myGamma has been nominated as the "Best Mobile Social Networking Service" in the the 13th annual Global Mobile Awards! The winner will be announced on 12 February.

"It's particularly gratifying to be nominated alongside partners with whom we work closely on a regular basis ; like Cellufun, Glu, myWaves and Tiny Pictures. " says KF Lai CEO of BuzzCity.



"Entries to the Global Mobile Awards this year demonstrate the social, business and economic impact that mobile communications is having in every corner of the world,” says Rob Conway, GSMA CEO. “I congratulate the nominees on their achievement thus far, being nominated by our independent judging panel is no mean feat given the calibre of experts it comprises, and the quality and quantity of submissions received."

ABOUT GSMA
The GSM Association (GSMA) is the operator-led trade association for the global mobile industry. Its membership includes more than 700 network operators that provide mobile communications services across more than 218 countries of the world. The GSMA's members serve more than 2.5 billion users - or approximately 83% of the world's digital mobile market.

The primary goals of the GSMA are to ensure mobile phones and wireless services work globally and are easily accessible, enhancing their value to individual customers and national economies, while creating new business opportunities for operators and their suppliers. The Association's members serve more than two billion customers - 82% of the world's mobile phone users.

January 08, 2008

2008 - YEAR OF THE MOBILE INTERNET

By Lai Kok Fung, CEO, BuzzCity
Happy New Year!! I'm expecting 2008 to be a fantastic year for the mobile internet and for BuzzCity as well. Here's why:

1. More Content
It's becoming a lot easier to create a presence on the mobile internet. Just like Blogger, TypePad and others have made it easy for businesses and consumers alike to create a presence on the web, companies like Safira Solutions and Wapple are now offering web-based tools for creating dynamic interactive mobile websites. Other companies like Incentivated are specialising in mobile marketing -- helping businesses develop and manage mobile ad campaigns.

In one high-profile example, Wapple worked with MTV to create mobile sites promoting programmes like Beavis & Butthead and the MTV Europe Music Awards.

More mobile web-building tools will be launched this year, some as early as next month at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.  

2. Mobile Content Goes Mainstream
Content may be king, but the best content isn't worth much if no one knows about it. Over the past year, media companies like BBC, CNBC and CNN have launched mobile platforms that enable consumers to access the latest news from their phones. But these mobile sites were taking a backseat to the wired internet. Network anchors, radio DJs and other media personalities began routinely inviting viewers to click onto a programme's website for more information, but how many times did you hear a network anchor say, "check out our WAP site for details"? In 2008, major media companies are starting to promote mobile content in the same breath as their websites.

3. Easier Access to Mobile Content - The Fall of the "Walled Garden"
Telecom carriers have tried hard to keep consumers on their own carrier portals, just as AOL (America Online) made it difficult for its clients to access the World Wide Web. But AOL's walls fell and now so too are the carrier portals'. The biggest and most recent example of this is Verizon, which announced in December that it will open its wireless network to "any device and any application".

Why did Verizon -- which had been one of the biggest defenders of restrictive carrier portals -- change its mind? It's simple -- competition -- or the fear of more competition. Specifically, Google wants to be able to bid for a wireless spectrum in the US and if it gets the go-ahead,
the company will offer cheap or free data access, including voice calls, in exchange for ads. Verizon is hoping to head this off and also send a message to US regulators that there' s no need to further open the US wireless spectrum.

4. Lower (and More Predictable) Prices
One of the biggest drags on mobile surfing has been price - not just price levels, but also the unpredictability of monthly charges. When carriers bill based on every MB used, it's hard for consumers to know how much they've spent. But now the move towards flat rate pricing is gaining momentum.

Take the example of the iPhone in the UK. O2 reports that some 60 percent of iPhone users are sending and receiving 25MB or more of data each month. Among O2's other consumers, less than two percent use this much data. Yes, the iPhone has a unique user-friendly interface. But O2 also provides iPhone users with a flat-rate pricing plan, which means they don't face any unpleasant surprises at the end of the month.

Meanwhile in Asia, eleven carriers -- including AirTel (India), SK Telecom (Korea), SingTel (Singapore) and
Telkomsel (Indonesia) -- are collaborating to offer fixed rate roaming plans -- US$30 for 15 MB and US$60 for 40MB.

Lower pricing, predictable bills, more and better content are leading consumers to spend more time surfing the mobile internet -- which in turn is increasing the appetite of businesses who want to reach out to these mobile consumers.

MOBILE ADVERTISING - From 2007 to 2008
In January 2007, BuzzCity was serving approximately 50 million mobile ads for a handful of clients each month. One
year later, we have several hundred advertising clients and the number of monthly ads served has risen 20-fold to one billion ads.

To service these advertisers - and content publishers - better, BuzzCity is

* Introducing more sophisticated ad targeting, based on carriers, demographics, phone models and more. (See
Hisham's discussion of this in November).

* Streamlining and automating purchase orders. Publishers can use online tools to
open their sites to ads and accept quotations. Similarly, advertisers can create campaigns and top up credits online. Of course, our customer service agents are still ready to assist clients who need additional support. We've been rolling out the online tools over the past several months and we're continually improving the process. The feedback so far from our clients has been great.

* Scaling up to handle the increase in traffic.

* Launching a new website, with clearer instructions for advertisers, merchants and publishers.

* Providing more data, analysis and tools so our clients can get the best results possible for every ad placed and dollar spent.

Finally, an overview of 2008 wouldn't be complete without at least one prediction, so I'll share our advertising projection with you -- by the end of this year, BuzzCity will be serving three to five billion ads every month.

I hope 2008 is as prosperous a year for you as I think it will be for the mobile industry.