Our solutions for classifieds, display advertising and small businesses are based on existing technologies and existing audiences. Our solutions for monetizing the iPhone are based on existing technology but an emerging audience because the current audience is rather small, but growing.
Mobile remains new, so it offers opportunities to pursue revenue strategies that may not have worked on previous platforms. For instance:
On the internet, there is a cultural prohibition against paying for content – that’s why we don’t believe in micro-payments or subscriptions. Mobile users may not be willing to pay for content either, but they are buying iPhone apps that provide features to customize content on iPhones. So we propose to offer a suite of low-cost features to enhance the experience of content consumption — rather than charging for the content itself — beginning with this feature set:
Off-line reading: Download content that’s normally online-only for use when you don’t have web service. Allows you to take content on a plane or subway.
Geo-tagging: Tells you what is near me now to connect you with news and advertisers as you move through the world of weather, traffic, events and hyperlocal discounts and sales.
Archive/export: Save and share data and permalinks. It’s a way to link your mobile and desktop experience and to share data with your friends.
Customization: Do more than change the background color. Organize the news the way you want to read it by eliminating what isn’t relevant and emphasizing what’s important to you.
Text-to-speech: What better use for a mobile news device than to combine up-to-date news with audio player functions? Perfect for walking, running, subway, trains, etc…
If we’ve learned anything about online, it’s that if we don’t charge now, we can never charge in the future. While we don’t believe the iTunes model will work for content, we do believe it will work for features that enhance the experience of using the content.