Feeds

Crazy Frog scapegoat finds solace in porn

If you can't beat them, join them

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Every mobile content firm admits that all the money is in porn. But most pin-stripe firms tend to steer clear of the genre. They don't want to upset their respectable customers.

mBlox was one of those untarnished outfits until it got dragged through the mud over the hapless part it played in the Crazy Frog ringtone money grab.

However, now mBlox appears to have nothing to lose, it has decided to go into the porn business.

"We're not strong in adult entertainment because we have gone in other directions, but that is something we want to change," says Andrew Bud, co-founder and executive chairman of mBlox.

Much of the company's business to date has been with straight-laced corporations such as Visa. It handles the transactions for people who want to buy things over their mobile phones. It acted as middle man for Jamba!, the firm ultimately responsible for the Crazy Frog.

The Crazy Frog's system for charging customers was as insistent as its jingle. If you overlooked the small print when you bought the ringtone you could end up paying a monthly subscription - akin to paying royalties for having the irritatingly ubiquitous noise repeat endlessly in your mind.

If in this business you do manage to keep your customers without tricking them you must have something they really want. Internet marketers call it sticky content - stuff that keeps people's attention. It is an idea that web and mobile porn firms make puns about. Porn is particularly sticky.

Those in the mobile porn business try and dress it up with business theories that explain why the mobile porn peddlers are typically so much more successful than their "clean" counterparts. Bud had a stab at a mobile porn conference yesterday evening.

Mobile porn peddlers have an uncanny understanding of their customers' psychology, he said. But those firms selling music, sports clips and ringtones struggle to understand what their customers want.

He overlooked the fact that the primitive urge that causes blokes to oggle women is a little more fathomable than the psychology of fashion. At least he wasn't explicit about it. He doesn't need to be.

"Adult" content firms, as they call themselves, can go through a whole evening of presentations without making any direct references to the dirty end of the business bar a few double entendres. "You all know what I'm talking about," they appear to be saying.

The conference, incidentally, was called "What can the erotic industry teach the mobile content industry?"

The answer is simple: if you want to make lots of money by selling content over mobile phones, concentrate on the (younger) male audience. Show them lots of sucking and fucking, a little bit of anal penetration, perhaps some bondage and uniforms.

The porn industry, Bud said, is more likely to keep its customers because its suppliers treat them well. It is not tarnished by the scams that tempt the purveyors of mainstream mobile content into abusing their customers.

It is, perhaps, more likely that those mobile firms that don't peddle smut have to resort to swizzling their customers because that's the only way they'll make any money.

Indeed, porn is so sticky that start-up mobile technology firms find it hard to escape it if they want to survive their first year of business.

It was a point illustrated well by Bud when he described the difference in ambience between two mobile industry conferences he attended recently: one porn, one mainstream.

The porn conference was "dynamic, exciting and stimulating". The straight gathering, on the other hand, "was like a tomb".

"People talking about how one day they might make money out of mobile content," he added.®

Business security measures using SSL

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
This flashlight app requires: Your contacts list, identity, access to your camera...
Who us, dodgy? Vast majority of mobile apps fail privacy test
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.