Showing posts with label marketing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label marketing. Show all posts

Thursday, 1 January 2009

MobiLuck Growth Accelerates

Well here we are again at the end of another eventful year. We proud to say that we haven’t felt the financial crisis much: we’re strictly a bloat-free zone and have kept a tight rein on expenses and an eagle eye on our KPIs. We now have almost half a million members, growing at between 2500 and 3000 new joiners a day, and 500 000 unique visitors a month sending over a million messages.

We have also recently been selected as a finalist for the Red Herring Global 100, an award "recognizing the financial performance, innovation, management, global strategy, and ecosystem integration of the best tech companies around the world". The 100 winners will be announced at the event in San Diego from January 14-16, 2009.

Finally, check out Jenaé wearing our MobiLuck t-shirt and saying lots of nice things about us below. In her video you can see part of our new MobiLuck flash movie, the full version of which is on our main website here.

Happy New Year to everyone!



Monday, 6 October 2008

MobiLuck growth is taking off

As Michael Caine famously said: "Be like a duck. Calm on the surface, but always paddling like the dickens underneath." Boy have we been doing that.

We now have over 325 000 members growing at 2 000 new joiners a day. For every three new joiners, there are two invitations sent to friends to get them involved too. People are joining us from the US, Europe, Russia, the Middle East, China, India, Kenya, Norway, Mexico, New Zealand, Brazil, Argentina and 50 other countries around the world. Well, the service is built to be used by everyone regardless of their country, operator or device.

Here are some of the key things we've achieved in the last couple of months:

  • We’ve increased our user base to 325 000 users growing at 2 000 per day.
  • We’ve launched our new website at www.mobiluck.com that reflects our vision for the MobiLuck product and shifts the focus away from our original Bluetooth messaging product to our mobile web social networking platform that connects people and places.
  • We’ve upgraded our infrastructure to dramatically improve service performance, cutting page load times in half and improving the interaction experience for our users.
  • We’ve implemented a new feature allowing commercial establishments to create their place on MobiLuck so they can be found locally by our users which drives additional traffic to them.
  • We’ve made huge steps in search engine optimisation allowing people and places to be found in mobile web searches.
  • We’ve translated the complete service into Russian, Chinese and Arabic with more languages on their way soon. Localised versions of our website will follow.
  • Plus hundreds of tweaks and enhancements to make the service simpler and easier to use.
Quack quack.

Friday, 22 February 2008

Over 1000 people joining MobiLuck daily

A quick look at our stats in between the mega-networking of last week at the MWC Barcelona and the repercussions (promises to keep) this week shows our MobiLuck Online user base growing at over 1000 new users a day and some days we've had over 2000 new joiners. We now have 125 000 registered users on the mobile website.

Meantime, since there's already plenty enough commentary on this year's Mobile World Congress (and we're too busy making things happen instead) I thought I'd show you a photo of some business types ignoring a whopping great big fountain.


Tuesday, 11 December 2007

The Crunchies

Nominate us for the Crunchies awards! Here's the lowdown from Techcrunch:

"Together GigaOm, Read/WriteWeb, VentureBeat and TechCrunch are pleased to announce that nominations for the inaugural 2007 Crunchies Awards are now open.

We created twenty award categories to recognize the year’s most innovative technical, creative and business accomplishments of key companies, products and people. We hope you’ll agree that the award categories are good reasons for celebration and fit for a proper ceremony.

We invite you to submit your favorite companies and products for consideration. Read the the official rules. Nominations will be open through midnight pst Wednesday, December 12. Finalist voting will open Thursday, December 13 and run for approximately one month before the awards ceremony on Friday, January 18 in San Francisco."

Note: these buttons have now been disabled as voting has closed

Monday, 19 November 2007

The Official Press Release :-)

MobiLuck launches social network: bump into your friends with radar alerts!

Today MobiLuck launches their new location-based socialising service that lets you share where you are with your friends and alert each other when you’re nearby, all on your mobile phone or computer.

Are you often asked “Where are you?” on the phone? Are you sometimes looking for your friends? Partner? Children? Colleagues? Would you like to know if a friend is in the same restaurant? Bar? Nightclub? Concert? Would you like to bump into friends more often? Would you rather avoid some people? We often need to tell others where we are, to know where someone is, or to see if there are interesting people nearby. MobiLuck answers all these needs. Knowing where people are is our mission!

Where are my friends?
Say you’ve just arrived at the cinema. You connect to MobiLuck and select the cinema as your location. Your friends and MSN contacts can then see where you are. They also get an alert by SMS if they are in the same area so they can get in touch and maybe join you to watch the film. Meantime you browse the people radar and discover another friend who is already there and send a message or call them in one click.

Make new friends too
Your radar also shows another MobiLucker in the same cinema! Nice photo … cool profile! You send him a quick message “Hey there :-)” and a few messages later you meet up. Fancy a meal together after the film? You click on ‘Sushi’. There’s one that’s highly rated 400m away: “Best in town” … and you have the map to get there. You’re going to have a great evening!

Privacy first
MobiLuck lets you protect your privacy, whether it's your location or your personal details. You can reveal what you want, to whom you want, when you want. You can even ‘teleport’ yourself and pretend to be somewhere else!

Simple and free to use
MobiLuck is available now in all countries on all networks on all mobile phones. You don’t need a GPS or smart phone. Your just need access to the mobile internet. And it’s free – outside of the usual operator charges. Try it now by visiting wap.mobiluck.com on your mobile phone or www.mobiluck.com on your PC!

Press contact: patrick.lord@mobiluck.com +33 1 44 89 47 10

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Will you be my friend?

Twitter's tagline used to be "what are you doing now?". But a recent look at their site reveals a change in posture. Now it's "what are your friends doing?". It's a subtle but telling shift. Twitter used to be about broadcasting yourself, becoming an overnight star in the web 2.o microcosm. Micro blogging to massage the ego. The experience was also rather like playing with fireworks; many have regretted that 3am tweet from the bar in a 'lucid' moment read by thousands of their 'followers'. Although you can still play with rockets in the street if you want to, Twitter now seems to be advocating that you hold a more sensible bonfire party in the garden with your mates instead. I wondered if this new tack was because their bulk sms bill had started to arrive on a trolley. Certainly there were too many inane comments addressed to nobody in particular; tweets probably best kept within a circle of friends. But I think the real reason is because friendship is naturally viral and self-sustaining whereas broadcasting to strangers is not. And that's one thing that Jaiku got right - they were a Twitter for friends. The Twitter team may be breathing a sigh of relief right now...

And it's no coincidence that MobiLuck is all about friends too, hence our tagline 'Closer to my friends'. People benefit most from MobiLuck when their friends use it too. Recommendations are usually made to friends, who in turn trust the information. And at the heart of it all is the human desire to be admired and respected by others and their friends in particular. So all these types of services should give users the means to express themselves - and show off!

Of course the concept of a 'friend' is being redefined by social networks and by Facebook in particular, where any contact is called a friend. Will we have to start making a distinction between 'real' and 'online' friends? I think it's inevitable.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

New shop window

Our new homepage is now online!

You can now sign up and play with the application within the phone window on your PC, send a link to your mobile or to your friends to invite them, and download the mobile application as before.

It was time to bring it up to date with the new service. but we couldn't completely redesign it from scratch because we wanted to preserve its power to bring tens of thousands of visitors a day looking for downloads for their shiny new [insert model here]. Our old, web~1.0 website generated 500 new service registrations and 1000 downloads a day for zero effort. An important factor in this is the block of 20-odd phone models on the front page and the fact that behind the home every one of over 200 types of phone has its own page. Multiplied by 8 languages.

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Madvertising

Our first mobile ad campaign generated over 1000 fraudulent clicks and flushed our daily budget down the pan in under 2 hours. Good job it was just a test run on a 1 cent CPC for a max 10 dollars spending limit. [update: it turns out that only about 100 of the clicks were fraudulent; the agency we were using had an unexpectedly high publisher inventory in india which even at the lowest possible CPC rate gave thirty thousand impressions in 2 hours. We were not actually charged for fraud clicks. They were registered by our server but were not counted in the agency's spending reports] The prime suspects? India blatantly in first place followed in a distant second by an unabashed South Africa. All the other english speaking countries were either asleep in their GMT +/-8 time zones or weren't paying hundreds of workers to speed-click on adverts for a dollar a day. It clearly pays to be cautious when starting out with this high risk advertising medium. We now need to do more extensive tests. With global advertising everyone is in different time zones so we need to run each campaign for at least 48 hours to be able to start making comparisons. That way each country will have 'experienced' the adverts for a full 24 hours during the same day of the week.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Multi launcher

We started by launching a closed beta followed by an open one. Then a quiet launch in june, a soft launch today and next up: the 'go-live' launch. And that won't be the end of it. Each of these milestones is not really a launch. More like part of a string of marketing activities to bring in various segments of the target market to the beta service when it's ready for them.
It’s like starting out with a rowing boat on a stream then adding an outboard motor as it becomes a river, a cabin and a steel hull as the river widens and picks up momentum and propellers and lifeboats as it joins the sea. Good luck to anyone who launches their rowing boat straight into the ocean amongst the sealiners.
[This is not an official launch communication. We're working on the lifeboats.]

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

The 20 : 80 rule

When you're desperate to launch your product but it's not 100 percent ready what do you do?

Well it doesn't have to be 100 percent for a start - that's what the ‘Beta’ caveat was invented for. But it may not need to be 50 or even 25 percent ready either. The nice to have features can wait if your core feature set works, is sticky, and embodies your USP. When Apple released the iPod Shuffle they drew the line there. Screen? Nah. Radio? Nah. Alarm clock with snooze function? You kiddin’ me? It had shuffle. And lots of memory at a great price (and it looked nice too).

Products and services tend to accumulate features over time. It's easy to dream up add-on features to an existing product - whether or not they're really all that useful - and you’ve the benefit of user feedback too. It's almost impossible, without incredible foresight - and risk - to jump straight to the 'endgame' product: you bypass real world time-tested user experience, and you risk confusing people. What if the first mobile phone ever released was a GPS WiFi Bluetooth IR TV 3.5G touch screen Web / WAP browsing Mp3 video jukebox digicam videocam calculator notes calendar to-do word processor Email IM SMS MMS Push-to-talk VOIP telephone? Would you understand what the hell it was for? Would you even realise you could make phone calls with it?

Of course this could never have happened – because one can only deliver what is technically and cost-effectively feasible at the time. Yet this is exactly the issue we face in the brave new world of web2.0: We all like to think that we know mostly what the endgame looks like, and all the necessary features for success are just a few lines of code away from our fingertips.

“We offer an online community, via internet and mobile channels, API's and mashups, chat and SMS and email and IM and viral invitations and presence and photo sharing and a blogging engine and link to your Myspace page and use tags and offer free content and run competitions and viral videos and mobile TV and a rating system and ...!” Bof. What does your company do again?

Most likely 20% of your feature set represents your USP and the value you offer to your customers. The remaining 80% is mostly a way of getting traction in the web2.0 jungle. Deliver the 20% first and the 80% later.

What is MobiLuck’s 20%?
Find who is near to you. Find what is near to you. Meet them. Go there.

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

When marketing = product design

Being a high tech start-up developing a social networking product, there is only so much honing of the marketing message and writing press releases and advertising that you can do. It takes lots of time and money to do it competently and sustainably. More importantly, most marketing effort in the early stages ought to be spent on the product.

You have to make hard decisions about the priority features the product should offer to really excite early adopters. You can't just toss in a load of nice extras and expect the whole to miraculously become more than the sum of the parts. Too many features dilute the appeal.

You have to look at how to make the product sticky for your target audience so that they will want to keep connecting to your service to get their regular 'fix', and so that they will want to tell their friends about it and get them hooked too.

You need to think about how to make it integrate and sit comfortably with the other products that your customers use ... and anything they use that is too similar needs to be blown out of the water by what yours can do. If they're comfortable with the three old tools they know that can do the same thing already they're not going to switch. But you make it less painful if your product does it better, offers new cool features, and integrates better with everything else they use. And of course it had better be dead simple to use even the most powerful features.

So in the marketing domain we haven't been doing much promotion; in fact we're doing next to no communication at all and focusing our efforts on getting the product right. We're getting tons of new registrations a day all the same. And we're getting feedback from customers to help us improve (even if they don't know it: our detailed stats are showing how they use the application too).

In this connected generation it's our customers who are empowered with the most effective marketing tools, and it's up to us to give them a good reason to use them.

Monday, 11 June 2007

KPI

We spent a couple of hours today reviewing the launch plan and preparing for tomorrow's board meeting. One thing that investors want to see is KPIs. We need to show that lots of people are using our service, that they're not all signing up once never to return again but are actually using it, and that their numbers are stacking up by the bucketload. Doesn’t that sound familiar? Reminds me of bubble1.0 where the volume of visitors to your website was considered the holy grail. This time round, the red herring is the number of active members of your online community. There are now hundreds of me-too start-ups without a business plan or a business model hoping to wave as many adverts at as many people as possible whilst they whistle through their ‘community’ from registration to emergency exit stopping only to look at a few pretty boys’ and girls’ profile pics along the way. Their visitors are all frequenters of their competitors’ communities too. If their offering is not something unique that their customers would happily pay for if it didn't just so happen to be free then they're facing an uphill struggle all the way.

A recent article on Two Point Oh on how to create a thriving web2.0 business listed 10 tactics for success:
#1. Create a sense of community
#2. Have a simple proposition
#3. Ensure viral growth
#4. Do continuous R&D
#5. Build a platform for advertisers
#6. Let the outside in and the inside out
#7. Own the audience
#8. Don’t forget to be profitable
#9. Get your content mix right
#10. Sell something

In my opinion the last point is the most important of all: Sell something. If you can't figure out what you’re selling to your customers you don't have a business - you have an expensive hobby.

So another KPI for us will be: how many of our customers are buying our premium service and how many are just clicking on adverts on their way out the door?

Friday, 8 June 2007

Bluetooth still has bite

MobiLuck built their reputation on Bluetooth, or rather on bending and reconfiguring it to make it do what was then impossible: rapidly detect multiple devices and transfer lots of data between them almost simultaneously.

Bluetooth has evolved since those early days in 2003, and the MobiLuck team, not forgetting their roots, have made sure they remain on top of this technology (and on top of how to hack it!). So whilst launching our new consumer products we're also applying our expertise in mobile advertising via bluetooth to help business clients deliver cool marketing campaigns.

Case in point: Last night at Le Baron, a hot club right now in Paris (they describe it as 'branché' meaning 'plugged in'), we helped FullSIX deliver 3 minute videos, music files and brand logos via an automatic bluetooth distribution terminal to the punter's mobile phones on behalf of a clothing brand, Zadig&Voltaire. Magic!

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Break it Down

We're planning many methods of publicising our new product that won't break the bank. What are some of the options?

- Mobile advertising. Still in its infancy and possible to get a good deal to reach users either globally or in specific countries or by specific phone / model / manufacturer / publisher type. Lots of companies popping up all over the place. Some examples: Admob, Admoda, DeckTrade, Google Mobile, ...
- Internet advertising. We get thousands of visitors to our website, and thousands of downloads of our bluetooth software per day...
- Existing users. They deserve to be at the top of the list, they like our Bluetooth product and we generate revenues from this. We have a huge email list and an active forum as a platform.
- Blogging and other bloggers. Time to get the referral services fired up: Technorati WTF ('Where's the Fire?'), Reddit, Digg (too damned difficult to get seen now!), StumbleUpon, Ping-o-Matic, del.icio.us ...
- Partnerships and alliances. Of multiple types. Content swapping, API 1-/2-way swapping, cross-promotion, joint development, client cross-referral, ...
- Events. The most expensive way of marketing but highly targeted at specific audiences. Best done in conjunction with partnerships to get a good deal.
- Viral spread. Give users a way to invite friends and even strangers to join them in using the service.

This list is not exhaustive of course but the devil is always in the detail. You have to understand the potential reach versus cost of each approach broken down by various factors such as geography, phone model, age, usage etc.

I can feel a very large spreadsheet coming on...

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Sexy models

We just added nearly 35 models to our range of supported phones for the MobiLuck application. That means more than 180 different models supported. And every new supported model is a new segment of users who will discover MobiLuck Online...