Friday, 25 January 2008

Mobile Search Gets Real

Trying to decide which mix of search terms and keywords Mippin should bid on amongst the numerous paid search services available is an interesting and often surprising job.  Mobile search has been around for many years and though early iterations were probably limited to searches for mobile operator products or services, the advent of,,, and others offering search on mobile has really shifted the potential of the device dramatically; mobile search now seems to resemble its counterpart on the fixed internet more than ever before.

I’m aware in fact that the distinctions between the mobile and fixed internets have been blurring for some time. Exactly what choice of search platform someone uses via a modern internet capable, large screen mobile is up for debate, especially when the element of website transcoding for mobile is thrown in to the mix. However it seems to make sense that if a search marketing exec uses Google Mobile for instance, selecting to serve Mobile Text Ad’s will see ad’s served on mobile internet capable devices. Of course, please let me know if this is not the case.

Based on this assumption though, Mippin has built lists of literally thousands of search terms, mostly related to the content available through the service, but in some places choosing to try new strategies to reach new, wider or even smaller niche mobile audiences. And in some cases the results are surprising, with a nod to the long-tail. The most popular search terms are as anyone would expect, mobile content, celebrity, entertainment, and news features, but sandwiched in amongst them are a real reflection of where the mobile internet is heading. People using mobile search no longer look for just news or entertainment, but input search queries with real variety and diversity, looking for content that is particularly relevant to them, displaying a real expectation that the mobile internet can deliver what they’re looking for. Higher than expected search queries for terms such as “prime numbers”, “panama hat” and “help the aged” in the UK show people assume the content is out their for their mobile. So I’m off now to find the most unusual search terms I can find – I wonder if anyone has ever managed to fit “Antidisestablishmentarianism” in to their mobile search browser?

And don’t forget, add “Mippin” to any mobile search you run, to truly see what the mobile internet delivers!


Thursday, 24 January 2008

Your opinion matters even more!

If you are a member of Mobile Monday (and if you work in the mobile industry or are a mobile enthusiast then why on earth wouldn't you be?), you'll shortly be asked to vote for the Mobile Industry Peer Awards - members can click here.

We would love you all forever for voting for us but of course would not dream of trying to influence your decision in any way.......


Thank you!!!!!! Free sticky buns for all our fans who vote!


Your opinion matters

Thanks to those of you that have already completed the survey within Mippin - the below gives a taster of the results to date. The good news is that 85% of you that submitted a vote like or love the service.

If you were one of the 7% who do not like it - please do not be shy - remember the feedback link at the bottom of each page. We do read them. How can we be better?



Monday, 21 January 2008

More industry stats

The Carnival of the Mobilists is at Mobhappy this week. Mobhappy is a must read for anyone interested in the mobile industry and was one of the founders of the Carnival.

There is a very thorough article this month from Tomi Ahonen, unofficial custodian of all this fledgling industry's data, who goes into some detail. Of particular interest, is the pending crossover where internet users from the phone will outnumber those using the internet from the desktop PC which shall occur sometime this year.

Next milestone: when will usage and not just users go through the same crossover?

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Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Your feedback please

There are two requests here so please read to the end.

First, we have created an online survey to help gather your feedback on a number of different topics. It takes less than five minutes and we cannot emphasise enough just how helpful it is for us.

Please click this link to complete it.

As an incentive, if you have a blog we'll provide you with first access to the new Mippin Maker tool (which we are yet to tell you about!) and give you a shout from this blog.

Second, we have an interesting meeting coming up with the team on Friday where we are sitting down to define the roadmap for the next quarter. If you'd like to make some suggestions you have a number of means to do so: post a comment to this blog; use the feedback link at the bottom of every page on Mippin; or email us at info at All suggestions welcome - we'll give ideas which make it to production due credit on this blog so include your name if you want to be mentioned.


Usage Metrics

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Full speed ahead

I try to recommend to the development team to blog whenever they make an upgrade to the service but there are usually heads down into the next release as soon as one goes out of the door.

So, with a tipping of the hat to some of the quickest and highest quality development on the planet here is a compendium of highlights (not the whole list) since launch just three months ago:

  • Adult Content Warning Page when entering Mens category for a new user for the first time

  • Send Via Email now offers up last 5 used email addresses to quick send to

  • Send Via SMS now offers up last 5 used numbers to quick send to

  • Mipplets are now searchable by title, results are only returned if the handset is capable and user not already subscribed to Mipplet

  • Ability to do A/B user group testing of some features

  • Survey Mipplet added but hidden until required

  • 10 minor updates

(all of the above have been released today)

  • The Mippin Blog has replaced Mippin Beta Blog as the default subscripion for new users

  • Email address validity checking on 'Send via Email'

  • Categories can be enabled on a per Country basis

  • New version of IP Address to CountryCode lookup library with 25Kb more ip data for better resolution of where our users are

  • New data tables are logging which Mippin portal pages (index/search/categories) are being hit and from which countries, also which adverts have been or could have been viewed on those pages.

  • New Mipplet flows for Add/Remove/Preview and Update with increased consistancy and new graphics

  • New "Quote of the day" mipplet

  • New Cookie Management so we always know if a user has cookies enabled.

  • Bookmarking home page now gives autologin functionality to all users, including non-cookied users

  • Page Title is now Mippsite Name on all Mippsites to help with search engines

  • New search engine built and installed

  • Featured Stories Mipplet now prioritises stories from Referrer then CountryCode then Defaults

  • Latest, Recommended and Popular lists are countrycode and rating dependant

  • Ordering of Mippsites in categories is based on Mippsite views per country in the last 7 days

  • Image rotation algorithm tweaked to include PopEye rotation on BlackBerry

  • More efficient SQL for Latest/Popular/Recommended from users country

  • Timeouts on favicon downloads

  • Extra terms added to adult filter, and adult filter

  • When not signed in and 'Add to favourites' the system flow assumes already a user

  • CSS gallery-nav updates for improved spacing on iPhone

  • Fix for adverts on iPhone

  • Fix for < and > in story titles

  • Fix for downloading favicons when parsing feed

  • Small screen devices (128 pixel) no longer get Sign In option on first visit (must have a referrer)

  • Content of Most Shared Stories is now Country dependant

  • Content of Popular Mippsites is now Country dependant

  • The service is now fully optimized for 128 pixel wide screens

  • After Signing Out the user gets the option to sign back in, to help users that have bookmarked the sign in page.

  • Bug Fix: Adding to Favourites when signed out now has an improved flow to store the favouite against the correct user.

  • Website and Mippin Maker updates

  • FeaturedStories Mipplet shows only Featured Mippsites setup for users country unless none exist, then falls back to default.

  • iPhone podcast, voting and lost network connection updates

  • Updated error.jsp to cope with iPhone errors

  • Mippin Maker can force Mippsites to always load from db (bypassing cache) and there is no home link on index page when used.

  • Gallery Mippsites get left/right navigation on stories, not item numbering navigation

  • Improved support for phones with small screen width of 128px

  • Mippins_countrycodes_days_hits table created and running

  • Feeds now have a 30 second connection timeout and and a 30 second download timeout

  • Improved Ad logging

  • Seperate Admob account created for Mippsite Plus adverts

  • Mippsite plus's fallback to Admob adverts when screentonic not available

  • Improved efficiency of image downloading and scaling

  • Live stats pages users figure 'fixed up'

  • Index page functionality split out to work on standard and ajax sites

  • Very wide aspect images (2:1 or greater) get rotated if much wider than screen

  • Twitter Mipplet fixed so Google Proxy works better and also if showing a link on Mippin to Mippin, goes direct.

  • Flickr mipplet

  • Joke of the Day mipplet

  • Stock Graph mipplet

  • Select a Mippsite mipplet

  • Share via Facebook included and Facebook App enabled

  • Improved autogenerated navigation graphics on Mippsite plus

  • Search Results page adspace switch to use AdMob as Google was so bad

  • Deeplinks to story page will forward to Mippsite Plus if necessary

  • Ensures Mipplet Config links keep session ids

  • Logging in DB of whether user has cookies or not

  • Tweaked look of Mippsite plus list page when no or small story image

  • Baiduspider added to list of known search engines



A day in the life.....

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Cheats and Tricks #4

Did you know that you can use the Mippin search box to do more than search?

You can also create sites through this link too.

Let's say you want to keep up to date with the US Elections but you search for  your favourite site on the subject - let's say DailyKos and you cannot find it in Mippin.

This does not mean that you cannot create it for yourself.

Simply type the URL into the search bar and hit "go". Mippin recognises that this is a URL and goes to the site to see if it is mippable. If it is you'll have the perfectly rendered version of that site for your phone immediately.


This is also a top use for the Firefox Sidebar - you can cut and paste complicated web addresses into the search box that might be tedious to type into the phone.

Save it as a favourite to make sure you can always get back to it easily.


Monday, 7 January 2008

Warm glow

A warm glow in the office this morning following a commendation from Mike Butcher in an interview with geek-famous Robert Scoble.

Mike writes for TechCrunch UK and somehow manages to find the time to update his always excellent mbites blog.

This article in mbites features the Scoble interview with Mike giving a perspective to a largely US audience about the technology scene in Europe. Thanks to Mike for highlighting Mippin as one of the cool innovations taking place this side of the pond.


Thursday, 3 January 2008

Mippit you Muppet!


It's now really easy to mobilise your blog through Mippin.

All you have to do is add a link to inside your blog as we've done in this blog in Blogroll below. 

Alternatively, you can add a graphical button. In Blogger you set up another page element on your existing blog and cut and paste the code below into the area you are prompted.

The code below provides a button for people to hit letting each user know how to get the perfectly rendered mobile version of your site on their phone - on any phone, anytime, anywhere. It looks like this:

For the button, here is the code you need. You do not need to understand it! Just cut and paste!

<a href=""> <img src="" alt="See the Mobilised version of this blog" border="0" /></a>

Once the new link is there, click on it and you'll see your blog together with instructions for all on how to get it on their phone. Better yet, if you are on a phone already, it will take you direct to the mobile tailored version of the site.

Remember that Mippin needs an RSS feed to work. If, in the very rare case, you receive a page asking for the url then we could not find an RSS feed for your site.