Thursday, 19 November 2009

And the iAward goes to...

Apologies, we're a bit late writing this post about our trip to the UK iAwards ceremony on Monday night, though it would be fair to assume we’d have been a bit quicker on the update if we’d won an award. Okay we admit, we didn’t win outright but we think being short listed at all was still a big achievement. As expected there were plenty of tech companies in attendance, along with sponsors and some government ministers. What we weren’t expecting was the showbiz aspect though - a lot of time & effort had been spent on the Science Museum venue itself, while there seemed to be lots of journalists buzzing around, plus even a few celebrities. It might not have been the BAFTAs but it wasn’t the GEEKAS either.

In fact everyone looked very dapper in black tie and the night proved really interesting, bringing together lots of different industries under one roof, with tech & innovation as the common thread. There was plenty of discussion and excitement around new ideas, introductions to new companies, plus some knowledge gap filing, i.e. event sponsorship wasn’t from the Orwellian sounding ‘Ministry of Science’ but the Department of Business, Innovation and Science. Of course it was a little disappointing not to win because we’re very proud of our mobile Buzz Widgets and think they’ve got a myriad of applications, but on the night Solargorilla won in our category – Digital Communications - with their solar-powered charger, so a big congratulations to them too. Perhaps we’ll be back to win next year instead, when the iAwards team will be using our widgets to download the event programme to everyone’s phones!

Monday, 16 November 2009

Bringing the Best of the Web to the Phone: Interview with David Mannl, Mippin

Full transcript of an interview with Smartphone Biz-news
Friday 13th November 2009 - 16:39

As society becomes more mobile, publishers are looking for ways to make their content accessible to as many people as possible.

While there are still some that have barely recognized the web as a viable marketplace for their audience, those that have adopted the mobile trends are quickly seeing changes in how their customer base interacts with the products/services offered and shared both on the standard web, and thru mobile technologies.

Mippin is one such company that specializes in helping users attain access to mobile content, and helping publishers mobilize their content for easy access for their audience.

Mippin, backed by Refresh Mobile, came to life in 2007. David Mannl, Head of Creative and co-founder of Mippin, states that he and his partner said, "let's ditch the whole client business for the time being' and focus only on mobile apps and that's when Mippin got started and launched as a product."

He also notes that when they started back in 2007 there were hardly any mobile internet sites around, and left a huge need for publishers and users to have mobile versions of all the web content they could.

How large is Mippin? "We have 76,000 sites in our system, all of them categorized into various levels of interest," answers co-founder of Mippin David Mannl.

David Mannl
Currently there are two ways to mobilize your content via Mippin. The first one is on your mobile phone; just enter the URL into the search box and on the fly Mippin will go out to that website, looks for a RSS content feed, and then creates a mobile version of it which works perfectly across 3,000 devices.

As for the second option, if you do the same on your computer over at, under publisher or blogger tab you go into a flow where the user can do the same thing. Mippin will basically find the RSS feed and then the user can upload their logo, define a color scheme and enter their ad mobile ID. It's a fairly simple and streamlined process and Mippin has seen much success with.


Mippin for publishers

For a publisher the approach is a simple solution. The publisher comes to the site to mobilize their web content, does not have to have any program skills whatsoever because its a one size fits all solution. You typically will find two types of publishers the first one is where we are the primary mobile solution.

This means Mippin will work with a lot of blog networks that want to have a wide variety of blogs over 30 to 40 sites and for them its a complete and total package. Each site takes about five minutes to set up and that’s mainly uploading the colors, defining the branding and then they have this huge array of mobile sites. We also have publishers that use Mippin like an additional distribution channel.

David Mannl shares an example, "we have an agreement with the New York Times and we are allowed to republish their content as well, but of course they already have their own mobile site. For them they have their own platform, they use us as an additional distribution mechanism and then some publishers use us as their only mobile solution."

Mippin for advertisers

There are two tiers for advertisers. If you host your ad on Mippin, you keep 100% of the ad revenue and that solution is offered with Ad More because it’s the easiest to implement. An advertiser goes in, there's a little monetize tab in that mobilization's log, you put in your own AdMore information and from that moment on Ad More send you money every month as soon as you are over a certain threshold.

Alternatively, we have what is called Mippin Premium Publishers. For these more premium advertising, Mippin will actually take a little cut from the ad revenue because they have to interact with the ad providers and make sure they always get the best campaigns.

They also make sure there is more targeted advertising so they will give a lot of information about the site to the advertising network so they can insert more relevant ads into the system or into the partners' site as well.

Demographic of users

The majority of users on the Mippin network are in America, followed by the UK. Demographic wise Mippin does not collect any data with regards to gender or age or income. What we do see are the devices the user is using and the location where they are coming from. Mippin tracks how long users are staying on the system, but they do not collect any more data from the user because its just a mobile internet site and they don’t think its really necessary to register this service.

"They just want to quickly access every time they have spare time," David Mannl responds with regard to what the end user is looking for.

What’s interesting about what Mippin can see is what sites are more popular in each country. Mippin has a full time editorial staff that picks the best sites and puts them into categories based on popularity in the country you live in. So if you go to a category on Mippin in America, you will see different sites and different ordering then if you would do the same in the UK.

Mippin uses a crowd source approach for editorial ordering of content. David notes that one of our biggest successes in America is wrestling, which they were completely surprised about. While in the UK, it's a lot of tabloids and gossip and of course football (soccer).

Mippin replacing traditional computing?

David notes that especially in developing markets where they don’t have access to a laptop, growth has exploded. In Saudi Arabia the average time a user is on Mippin is as high as 20 minutes and that's just the average. So it's easy to see, for them, it's the only way to access the internet. Compared to the UK, where a user will spend 8 minutes on average, and America, 7 to 9 minutes.

It may be also because Mippin has one of the biggest selection of mobilized content out there. They've also built in recommendations into the system which will regularly recommend new content. You can connect with other users on the service, they can recommend you new content, so there are many ways to discover content on Mippin.

In cultures where desktops and laptops are scarce, services like Mippin seem prime for growth. In cities where many of the populace are constantly on the go, David sees explosive growth continuing, hoping that their service reach more and more people every year. It should be noted that competition in the mobile space is not as it was back in 2007.

Today competition or attention is fierce and the market is quickly growing. Mippin is now just one of many services that offer mobilized content, but so far David sees the growth of his network remaining strong.

You can follow David on Twitter @flashy1980. More specifically if you are a user of Mippin, David prides himself on the face that users can always submit feedback to the company for future improvements.

"Every page on Mippin has a feedback box and we actually read that feedback everyday because that’s part of our company DNA. We listen to our users because we want to keep them entertained and they are what help to make this service better and if we make the service better, we can entertain them better. So there's a lot of really great dialogue we're seeing. We are also getting a lot of feedback through the ad store. Its really good to now have the tools to stay in contact with your users and not just be a faceless company," David says proudly.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Government, dragons, traffic lights & Mippin?

Mippin is keeping some impressive company this week. Yesterday we were shortlisted by Google for their second Android Developers Challenge. Today we learn we're shortlisted by UK Government no less, for a new technology awards initiative called iAwards.

Okay, so the judging panel might not all be quite government, but iAwards is backed by Science and Innovation Minister Lord Drayson, plus Dragon's Den star James Caan. There's a real mix of award categories, including Energy and Environment (featuring environmentally friendly traffic lights), Cross-Application of Technology and Next Big Thing; Mippin has made it through to the last three in the Digital Communications category with our Buzz Widgets, so we'll be attending the ceremony next week and hopefully bumping in to some of the great and good from across the UK tech industry. With Mr Caan in tow, we might even see Mippin's "mobile content publishing" pitch on Dragons Den one day! What's really amazing though is how successfully tech is infiltrating all areas of our lives, and it will be great for Mippin and the work we do on mobile to be recognised alongside a wider range of tech development across so many other industries.


Monday, 9 November 2009

ADC2 Round 1 Results Are In

Everyone needs a little good news on Monday morning...

And here it is! A few months back, we entered 3 of our applications into Google's second Android Development Challenge, and we have just been informed that 2 of those have made it to the second (and final) round of judging. Mippin's Fun Buzz Widget (in the entertainment category) and Buzz Deck (in the media category) will be judged in the coming weeks both by the Android community and a team of Google-selected judges -- we've got our fingers crossed, but it's already an honor to make it this far.

Entrants were able to enter apps into 1 of 10 categories, and prizes are awarded to the top 3 in each category as well as the top 3 overall. (The grand prize is a whopping $250,000 -- wonder how many table football tables that could get us?)

Congratulations to the 198 other applications that have made it this far! The competition is certainly fierce. To check out the list of the final 200 apps, just click here.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Mippin's Daily News Pick: Mippin's Daily News Pick

Mippin loves news. It's sort of a given since we work with it every day, and yet its not often that we share our own take on the world with our Mippin fans or users. So starting this week, we'll be endeavoring to share one news item each day which catches our fancy. It won't be particularly serious in nature, but we hope it will be interesting, funny, or a little bit unusual.... definitely plenty of those stories out there and they usually get found by at least one of us here in the office. Now we'll also be letting you know about it too via our Twitter account.

Unless you find the story first? If you do, you can let us know and we'll be sure to share. Either way, hope you enjoy our new Mippin's Daily News Pick over on