Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Jumbuck - MoCoNews

Notes From User Generated Content Conference

Russell Buckley of MobHappy attended the User Generated Content Conference in Munich, his write-up is here. There's a wry comment about start-ups increasing their perceived value by putting "social" in front of their business plan...Also this interesting paragraph:
"Last year, Jumbuck alone accounted for 19% of wap traffic in the UK, which totaled 2 billion page impressions. 30% was accounted for by other mobile community sites, with 51% being "the rest"." Almost half of the WAP content was for mobile communities....

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

PayPal & Conde Nast - Payments News

Shopping By Phone, On The Move

Stuart Elliott reports for the New York Times on plans by the Condé Nast magazine Lucky to give readers the chance to buy products from 18 companies by sending messages from their cellphones in a program called "Live Buy It" that uses a service from PayPal known as PayPal Mobile Text2Buy. According to the article, "one reason the promotion is using the PayPal Mobile Text2Buy service is that in a survey of Lucky readers, 83 percent said they were familiar with PayPal."

Google eyes PayPal - Digital Transactions

Unfazed by eBay’s Ban, Google Eyes PayPal, Other Payment Methods

(July 10, 2006) Ebay Inc.’s decision to bar Google Inc.’s new payment product from its massive online auction site doesn’t seem to faze the online search company. Indeed, the executive in charge of Google Checkout, which debuted less than two weeks ago (Digital Transactions News, June 29), tells Digital Transactions News Google has PayPal under consideration as a payment method for the new service, which currently works only with credit and signature debit cards. PayPal Inc. is a unit of eBay. “We have a really good relationship with eBay,” says Benjamin Ling, product lead for Google Checkout.

At the same time, though, Ling says eBay is making a mistake in not allowing buyers and sellers to use Checkout. “We believe [eBay] should allow Google Checkout,” he says. “They should promote complementary products. It will be faster for buyers to buy and sellers to complete sales.”

Only days after Mountain View, Calif.-based Google launched Checkout, eBay added the payment service to a list of 39 payment products it will not allow sellers to accept, most of them fairly obscure brands. On the other hand, it lists a dozen services, besides PayPal, that it does permit, including Bidpay, CertaPay,, and Xoom, but also less well-known brands such as and Canadian Tire Money. On the “Accepted Payments Policy” page of its Web site, eBay says it “wants to ensure that the marketplace offers buyers an array of safe, appropriate, and convenient payment choices for the marketplace.” It adds it “strongly encourages sellers to offer payments through PayPal…” When evaluating a new payment service, eBay says it looks at such factors as whether the service offers protection of privacy and anti-fraud features; involves precious metals; and has a track record of “providing safe and reliable financial and/or banking related services.” The policy adds that “new services without such a track record generally cannot be promoted on eBay.”

In addition, the company says it looks at the “identity, background, and business interests” of the service’s sponsor. Google and eBay, San Jose, Calif., have increasingly come into competition with each other, not only directly in online payments but also with a deal eBay concluded this spring with Yahoo! Inc. in which, among other things, that online search company agreed to promote PayPal.

Ebay’s marketplace concluded $12.5 billion in merchandise sales in the first quarter and ran 575.4 million listings for sellers, 15% of which it considered “store” listings. Still, even without access to eBay, Ling says Google is “very pleased with the progress” Checkout has made so far with merchants. The service has signed 102 merchants to accept Checkout, at least some of which are currently clients of Google’s AdWords advertising service. “Right now we’re seeing a lot of interest from merchants who are AdWords clients as well as [those who are] not AdWords clients,” Ling says. Google has tied Checkout closely to AdWords, a service that allows merchants to run short text ads next to related search results, paying on a per-click basis. AdWords clients can use their spending on the ad service to pay for processing on Checkout, which charges 2% plus 20 cents per transaction.

Ling refuses to say how many users have signed up for Checkout, which requires consumers to enter information such as billing addresses and payment-card account numbers, all of which is stored for later use on accepting merchants’ sites. “At Google, we don’t release adoption numbers, but I will say we’re pretty pleased with adoption so far,” Ling says. As for the restriction of users to Visa, MasterCard, and other general-purpose card brands, Ling says other payment methods, including stored value and the automated clearing house, are under consideration. “We’re really open to all sorts of payment methods that make sense to consumers,” he says. PayPal allows users to fund accounts via prepayments and the ACH as well as cards.

Google decided to launch Checkout, Ling says, because it had discovered online shoppers were frustrated with current Web-site checkout processes, which he says consumers find slow and tedious each time they visit a new site. This, he says, drives down conversions. “Over half of users abandon shopping carts for whatever reason,” Ling says. “We want to remove that friction.” With Checkout, buyers pay by clicking on a Checkout icon and entering a user name and password. No other data entry is required. Google stands in as the merchant for the card transaction, settling funds to the merchant and paying relevant interchange.

PayPal Paychecks - Payments News

Pay By Touch Enhances Check Cashing Service

Pay By Touch has announced Paycheck Secure 8.0 that allows retailers to electronically deposit all checks at once with the touch of a button. Paycheck Secure 8.0 enhances existing technology that enables fingerprint authorization for customers cashing government or payroll checks.

PayForIt report - 160 Characters

WAP/Mobile Internet: mBlox Ready For PayForIt

Submitted by Mike Grenville on Mon, 17 Jul 2006 11:41

Ready to go live in the Autumn of 2006, mBlox claims to be the first company to announce its successful accreditation on Vodafone and Orange to the new UK mobile internet billing scheme PayForIt.

The PayForIt scheme, run by all the UK mobile operators, will mean that consumers can buy content with their mobile phones just by clicking on a "Pay" button on a WAP page. It will offer an easier buying process with better consumer protection than existing methods of buying from a WAP page using premium SMS. Premium SMS content purchases were worth over £500m in the UK in 2005, and with the increasing use of the mobile internet, PayForIt is expected to grow the mobile content market considerably.

The PayForIt scheme protects consumers by ensuring that crucial interactions with the customer regarding the purchase are not handled by the content provider, but instead by a trusted intermediary company, known as an accredited payment intermediary. Companies will no longer be permitted to process WAP or mobile internet billing transactions if they are not accredited.

mBlox is one of a small handful of companies who have now successfully achieved accreditation on Vodafone and Orange. This means that mBlox has demonstrated the highest levels of integrity, security and reliability in its operations, earning it the right to process some of the first mobile internet transactions in the UK when the scheme goes fully live in Autumn 2006. The other operators have not launched their accreditation process yet that is expected to begin within the next two months.

Last month, it was announced that mBlox had made a major investment in technology from carrier systems vendor Valista, which will be used to deliver the UK PayForIt service and similar services around the globe.

"We are enthusiastic supporters of PayForIt" said Andrew Bud, mBlox Executive Chairman (pictured). "Our major investment in this new technology will offer our customers the same seamless, international solution for mobile internet payments that they currently use for premium SMS services. We think that PayForIt, with its greater transparency and improved security, will earn consumer confidence and power new growth in this market."

Monday, July 17, 2006

MVNOs work with alternative payments - Fierce Wireless

Amp'd Adds Mobile Payments With Obopay

Youth MVNO Amp'd and mobile payment startup Obopay have signed up to put a mobile payment system on Amp'd phones. "Through an application on their handset, Amp'd Mobile subscribers will be able to easily receive, send and spend money anywhere, anytime."
The two companies will promote the service both to Amp'd customers and on university campuses across the US this fall. There is also a service which allows "e-commerce sites to accept payments directly from Obopay accounts. Rather than complicated credit card numbers and expiration dates, Obopay account holders would simply enter their Amp'd Mobile phone number and a passcode to complete a transaction". I'm pretty sure system this has to be set up by the e-commerce site but Obopay is promising lower transaction fees.
"Our subscribers nationwide will now have the opportunity to revolutionize the way they handle their finances, managing their entire account on their phone and exchanging money with friends instantly through their mobile device. It's the perfect service for our customer's mobile centric lifestyle," said Mike McSherry, SVP of Emerging Technologies at Amp'd Mobile.
It may be the perfect service, but any new payment system has the problem of getting critical mass, and Amp'd certainly doesn't have that yet -- and it will probably be a while before it does. Offering a mobile payment service isn't going to do any damage, and Amp'd does have the advantage that it's user base is early adopter -- the sort of people who are most likely to use the service.
One final comment from Carol Realini, CEO and Founder of Obopay: "The mobile phone will do for money, what the iPod has done for music; making it instantly accessible and personalized." I think that's a long bow to draw...
Background on OBopay here in this SiliconBeat story, and more about mobile payment in our dedicated section here.

The Off-Deck Conference - Fierce Wireless Report

Second Day

After an unusually fantastic lunch, which consisted of London broil of some kind of delicious fish and fresh Caesar salad, the second half of Day One at The Off-Deck Conference in New York City was just as hot, humid and informative as the first. Speakers from MTV U.K., U.S. Cellular and Baker & McKenzie stuck out as the afternoon's show-stealers. Here are some highlights:

MTV U.K.'s head of interactive, Matthew Kershaw led things off with a presentation entitled "Why MTV went Off-Deck." While Kershaw wouldn't comment on MTV's U.S. operations, he gave some insight into the networks off-deck move across the pond: "We went off-deck for three reasons: Handset penetration, even though the numbers start to level out around 2006/2007 … pretty much everyone has handsets capable of [cruising the mobile Internet]… and off-deck spending has increased in the same proportion." The second reason is the short tail problem, which I call "the window shop problem--see that tiny little shop front window? A ridiculous percent of the [on-deck] traffic only sees" the content that is positioned high up on the carrier's WAP deck. The third reason MTV U.K. went off-deck was that it "didn't have control of [its] content when it was on portal--couldn't control what was on there, rewards schemes, pricing and it couldn't engage with the customer like [it] wanted to."

Kershaw continued to extend his window-shop metaphor by referring to off-deck portals as equivalent to retail stores: "This is the way I refer to [the off-deck strategy]: The Prada Strategy, because it was one of the first great retailers to create fantastic flagship stores… go inside and that's where you get the full experience of Prada… and the thing about these stores is it really enhances the brand. We wanted to adopt a Prada model, where we have our flagship stores. That doesn't mean Prada stopped selling their make-up and things in other department stores, but Prada was one of the first retailers to insist that they can control their merch when it's located in other stores." Kershaw's point is off-deck strategies shouldn't preclude a content provider from offering on-deck content too, but it'd be ideal if the provider could have some control over the content when on-deck.

Next up, U.S. Cellular's senior director product development and management, John Cregier laid out the basics of the off-deck discussion and reminded all players to think long-term by concentrating on growing the market as a whole, and not think in terms of short-term profits. Cregier, like many at the show, referenced Apple's iPod and pointed to it as an example of a market (digital portable music) dominated and overseen by one company (Apple. Keep up with me here). Cregier's suggestion was that although the off-deck mobile content market will be more fragmented than, perhaps, on-deck ones, which each carrier oversees and controls--the guiding reference point should be the consumer. Like a ballerina that doesn't get dizzy because she always keeps coming back to the same visual reference point as she spins around, the off-deck market need only keep its eye on the consumer. While a bit drawn out and somewhat naive, it's a lesson that begs reminding time and again. Do consumers really want these services? How do they want them and how can we as an industry keep tabs on what they want?

Closing out the day with a few laughs about his Beatles-styled hair, Samuel Kramer of Baker & McKenzie finished strong with an overview of laws, regulations and best practices that affect the mobile content industry. The most memorable example referenced an online gambling bill currently before the Senate, which could iron the issue of gambling on a mobile platform as well: "Take an off-deck gambling site that can be accessed by a mobile phone, well since the carrier's network allows you to connect to that, if it's illegal to connect to it under existing gambling laws in some states, the carrier's infrastructure could be seized" as illegal gambling paraphernalia. While, such an event would be absurd, the truth of it certainly means "most carriers are going to steer clear" of mobile gambling in the short term. Kramer also posed the lawyerly question of whether a mobile gambler on a train from New Jersey, where mobile gambling is legal, let's say, to New York, where it is not. The gambler places his bet when in New Jersey, but wins the pot just after crossing the state line. These are issues that need examining, according to Kramer. - Brian

First Day

FierceMobileContent is coming to you live today from the Off-Deck Conferenceaggregators will continue to be an integral part of the mobile content value chain, even if off-deck portal ubiquity comes to pass--"You won't be an afterthought," Cohen promised gravely. Cohen then called the music industry "complacent" when it comes to mobile music--or rather, "ring tunes" was the precise term he used. Did I miss the "ring tunes" shift in vernacular memo? Others here are saying it too--it's driving me nuts. As a closing teaser, Cohen leaked that a prominent video content provider based in San Francisco is planning on launching a service that makes some of its video assets available to users who can them mash-up and breathe new life in them. Any ideas whom he's referring to? in New York City. Despite the stuffy conference room packed with 100 or so mobile content providers, carriers and aggregators, the Off-Deck Conference has so far yielded some interesting tidbits. Conference chairman and former EMI executive Ted Cohen set the day's tone with an assurance that

Next up came VP of strategy and business development at BET, who was apparently a pinch hitter for BET Mobile's EVP and CFO Scott Mills, so I apologize for not having his name handy. The exec reiterated the profile of the average BET viewer: He's 56 percent more likely to have a Web-enabled phone, is part of the highest voice and data consumption segment and the frequency with which he updates his handset is twice as higher as the general population. Despite those figures, BET, like MTV, didn't pursue an MVNO because "it was too far of a departure from [their] core competence and [they] didn't want to commit that much capital to such an enterprise." According to the speaker, BET's transactional volume for mobile content doubled thanks to its shortcode-equipped television spots during music videos. Since the launch about 85 percent of ringtone sales have been driven by the TV spots, while 15 percent have come from BET's online portal. That's quite a spread, but by no means surprising. Despite those impressive figures, the speaker said if BET was to remove those commercials from the air, the traffic volume would continue to grow for those shortcodes because users are familiar with them now. BET's plans for the future center on a MySpace-like community space, which the company believes to be the "secret sauce" of mobile data. Such a platform would include a dating service, picture sharing and file sharing. There was also some vague talk that the network was "aggressively on the hunt" for location-based services.

Sprint's director of planning and programming John Styers was the last speaker before deadline--and by far the most interesting. A carrier at an Off-Deck Conference is likely to steal the show. Styers broke out next steps for carriers, aggregators and content providers. Carriers need to provide more APIs to aggregators, put services in place to stop revenue leakage, refine and consolidate so that aggregators don't have to transform content into five or six different types so that it integrates with each individual carrier. First and foremost, the carriers need to build out the proper infrastructure to support these services. Styers had some stern words for content providers that stretch the rules and standards for best practices: "It takes very few people to cause havoc in this industry--it makes everyone look bad." Styers added, "You're very fortunate we don't have the capability of charging these things back to you." He also assured content providers that carriers aren't looking to get into their business--"We want you to reinvent the world…we have four or five people in total working on off-deck capabilities." Styers predicted that the U.S. would not mirror Europe's off-deck marketplace, which claims 70 percent of mobile content is sold off-deck, "but it will go a huge leap from where it is today--and we recognize that." Styers had less advice for aggregators: Tighten up billing and if you have a mobile community service, do the carriers a favor by incorporating 24-hour monitoring into your cost structure. Styers also said he's personally against free giveaways for mobile content promotions since he believes a user has a monthly appetite, a finite one, and if you give one ringtone away, it's just one less you're going to sell that month. - Brian

Mobile Phone Payments Replacing Cash in Japan

Japanese households, with the highest mobile phone penetration in the world, are also among the most prolific users of their cell phones to make purchases. Over 43% of Japanese Internet users employ (mobile- and card-based) e-money several times a month.

While Japan is ahead of the rest of the world by three or four years, and some aspects of the experience in Japan are unique to Japan, other aspects can be adapted to the US and give marketers a step up on the competition, according to eMarketer's new report, "Mobile Payments in Japan."

One survey revealed the top 10 locations where Internet users said they would like to use electronic money.

Another survey showed that 74% of Japanese consumers would like to use a mobile credit card in convenience stores, and 52% would like to use the device in a supermarket.

Consumers are attracted to the convenience of mobile payments because it not only removes the hassle of having to get cash, but it saves time. Consumers initially concentrate on paying for services where there is a low cost for trying it (like signing up for a card to save on a train ticket), or a low cost of failure (like only losing out on the cost of a cup of coffee). Convenience is the initial value point that gets people to try e-money and become curious about experimenting more, says the report.

"Almost every successful Japanese mobile data service has started out this way from ringtones to using a mobile device to operating a soda vending machine," write the report's authors, John du Pre Gauntt and James Belcher, senior analysts at eMarketer. "As customers grow in confidence and usage patterns, more sophisticated services are introduced for more money."

PASS Consortium

PASS Consortium to Payment-Enable Microsoft Windows Vista

A new payments consortium called PASS (Payments As a Secure Service) announced its formation at the Microsoft Developers Conference. The consortium, which is led by IP Commerce, intends to exploit new features in Windows Vista, including the operating system's enhanced security and discovery features.

Currently, small businesses interface with credit card companies and financial services firms in the financial ecosystem through highly proprietary relationships based on one-to-one technology connections. PASS redefines this relationship by enabling Independent Software Vendors, System Integrators and Value-Added Resellers to create service-oriented financial management solutions in software applications fulfilled by best-in-class providers through a single service provisioning system.

Participants in PASS include BankServ, Chase Paymentech, PayPal, and Pay by Touch among others.

The PASS Consortium is enabled by leveraging IP Commerce's IP Payments Framework(TM) (IPPF) within Windows Vista. IPPF provides an SOA-based framework for the financial industry that can be utilized to host payments networks, as well as toolkits to connect services, devices and applications to multiple financial management services. IPPF breaks down traditional barriers by connecting banks, financial service providers, businesses, software vendors and resellers, and offers the opportunity to engage the market with innovative software offerings targeting each of these groups.

The PASS Consortium makes optimal use of new features in Windows Vista, including the operating system's enhanced security features and the ability to discover PASS Consortium offerings using its new integrated search capabilities. The services are expected to be fully implemented by the Windows Vista launch in early 2007.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Cost of services counts - MoCoNews

Half Of Mobile Data Virgins Say Never Again
Related Topics: General, Mobile Video, Research -- Permalink - Comments (0) [by james]

A survey by NOP has found that 29% of people using data services during the FIFA World Cup were doing so for the first time, a thumbs up for the mobile content marketing and promotion efforts of the industry. However, 44% of those first-time users have no intention of using data again, a big thumbs down.
The press release by Olista claims that "only 49% of consumers were satisfied with the cost of the mobile data service they used", and "19% believe that if mobile data services were easier to set up and use they would have been encouraged to use the services on offer during 2006 football world cup".
Finally, the question "if the ease of access and quality of service was not a problem which mobile data services would potential users have considered using" the positive responses were as follows: Text alerts (22%), video clips (16%), picture messages (16%), mobile TV (11%).
Once again, it depends on the way the question was asked, and it has been shown that demonstrating the products -- particularly mobile TV -- increases interest. It's unlikely to increase that much in the short term though...

US Operators start cracking down

Cingular: Aggregators offering PayPal will be shut off - Payments News

Cingular has tightened control of its aggregators' billing practices by prohibiting credit card, PayPal-like services or any billing service other than the Direct Bill option. According to a memo sent to Cingular's aggregator partners and obtained by FierceMobileContent: "...the current Cingular Wireless Customer Experience Policy...prohibit[s] the options of credit card and/or Paypal services for payment of content to Cingular Wireless customers. Please be aware that Cingular customers should always and only be offered the Direct Bill option for payment of content and/or services. Any programs that offer Paypal and/or credit card options to Cingular Wireless customers will be escalated and reviewed by Cingular Wireless for possible immediate shut off." While Cingular wouldn't comment on the leaked memo, Jay Emmet, president-Americas for mBlox, said, "We are aligning ourselves with Cingular's new requirements."

The crackdown on third-party billing options comes close on the heels of PayPal's recent launch of its Text2Buy program, and the memo references PayPal by name more than once. However, PayPal says that program enables users to purchase hard goods like t-shirts, posters, etc. and not "content" or a "service." The crackdown then mostly speaks to the larger issues of revenue leakage and the potential bypassing of carriers' billing mechanisms as off-deck content continues to gain momentum in the U.S. "Revenue leakage" refers to lost revenue from the sales of content or services because of faults in billing procedures. Obviously, being the sole billing mechanism gives Cingular a greater ability to stop revenue leakage. T-Mobile's policy on third party billing has always been that they are cool with it, for the most part, as long as they still get a cut--they charge their aggregators a small percentage for any transaction that goes through a third party.

Stay tuned to FierceMobileContent for more on Cingular's new policy on third-party billing systems.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Pay Simple

PaySimple Launches QuickBooks(R) Module for Electronic Payment Processing;

New Module Provides Seamless Integration and Easy Payment Processing for QuickBooks Customers

DENVER--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 12, 2006--PaySimple, a leading provider of payment management solutions for businesses, today releases a QuickBooks module that enables customers to seamlessly integrate QuickBooks applications with PaySimple electronic payment processing functions. The new module provides auto-recurring billing, electronic check processing, direct-debit and credit card processing while automatically recording those transactions within Intuit's (INTU) QuickBooks.

"The new PaySimple module allows businesses using QuickBooks greater flexibility, including the ability to batch process transactions, accept checks electronically and manage auto-recurring billing," says Allen Wolff, president of PaySimple. "In addition, PaySimple provides a turnkey solution that enables QuickBooks customers to take advantage of one of the industry's lowest credit card transaction rates."

PaySimple customers gain competitive advantage by utilizing cutting-edge technology to process payments more efficiently, normalize cash flow, and significantly decrease outstanding accounts receivables. PaySimple is unique in the industry for providing a completely integrated payment gateway for processing electronic checks, direct-debits, credit card transactions and for establishing auto-recurring billing and online bill-pay. With the ability to bill, process and deposit payments automatically, PaySimple customers receive their money faster, more easily and more cost efficiently.

Over 20,000 companies in a broad range of industries from schools and daycare centers to rental agencies, utilities, hospitals, non-profits, and many others, use the PaySimple platform. These same organizations use QuickBooks as a simple turnkey accounting solution. "It's a natural integration for PaySimple," Wolff says. "QuickBooks is a leading provider of all pre-payment accounts receivable functions and PaySimple is the logical choice to complete the system with an industry-leading easy-to-use payment processing solution."

For more information on PaySimple electronic payment processing solutions, the new QuickBooks module, or to schedule an online demonstration of the PaySimple system, call 800-466-0992 or email

About PaySimple

PaySimple is an industry-leading provider of payment management solutions. PaySimple simplifies billing and collection processes by enabling customers to invoice, collect and deposit payments automatically. The customized, secure ASP solution includes auto-recurring billing, electronic check processing, direct-debit and credit card processing at some of the lowest rates available. PaySimple seamlessly integrates with QuickBooks and most other business management software. Based in Denver, Colorado, PaySimple sells its system direct and via a large network of partners who provide total business software solutions.

Obopay partners with Amp'd Mobile - Payment News

Obopay has announced a partnership with Amp'd Mobile to offer a new mobile payment service, Obopay-Amp'd, to Amp'd Mobile subscribers. Amp'd Mobile will promote the service to all Amp'd subscribers, and in addition, the two companies said they will jointly promote the service on university campuses across the country this fall.

"Obopay will give our subscribers a mobile payment service that combines an intuitive user experience with real time ability to access and spend money," said Mike McSherry, SVP of Emerging Technologies at Amp'd Mobile. "Our subscribers nationwide will now have the opportunity to revolutionize the way they handle their finances, managing their entire account on their phone and exchanging money with friends instantly through their mobile device. It's the perfect service for our customer's mobile centric lifestyle."

Through an application on their handset, Amp'd Mobile subscribers will be able to easily receive, send and spend money anywhere, anytime.

"It's gratifying that our first agreement to deploy our service with a U.S. carrier is with an innovator and pioneer in the mobile space," said Carol Realini, CEO and Founder of Obopay. "The mobile phone will do for money, what the iPod has done for music; making it instantly accessible and personalized, and Obopay is proud to be partnering with Amp'd to make this a reality."

Already well established in Asia and parts of Europe, mobile commerce is only now beginning to make its way to the U.S. Obopay's downloaded client simplifies the mobile transaction process and facilitates immediate transfer of funds to consumers.

Obopay also recently announced new technology that would allow e-commerce sites to accept payments directly from Obopay accounts. Rather than complicated credit card numbers and expiration dates, Obopay account holders would simply enter their Amp'd Mobile phone number and a passcode to complete a transaction. And these Obopay transactions cost retailers a fraction of the fees they currently pay to other financial vendors.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Vodafone blocks IPX

Vodafone Blocks IPX in UK

Filed in archive Mobile Commerce by tom on July 11, 2006

Vodafone has thrown a spanner into the works of Ericcson's IPX WAP billing solution in the UK, citing both a Data Privacy issue and a lack of a need for an interim solution before Vodafone's own PayForIt solution launches.
Pointing to the 2003 EU directive on Data Privacy, Jeremy Flynn, Head of Commercial Partnerships at Vodafone said "Web site owners don't have the right to talk to visitors and the Mobile Internet should be the same as the Internet. There is a lot of abuse out there and our interpretation of the EU rules is that the MSIDN cannot be passed to a third party except by a mechanic where the user controls their identity and can opt out".

Flynn doesn't see the need for the Ericsson IPX WAP billing as it is an interim solution. "Payforit will resolve these privacy issues as it includes sorting user permissions" said Flynn.
At the same time, Orange have expressed concerns over the PayForIt solution, technology for which there seems to be very little available public information. The major difference appears to be that PayForIt ties a mobile phone to a credit card for mobile payments, whilst Ericsson's IPX solution allows consumers to purchase items via a WAP transaction that get billed via premium SMS or direct to the mobile bill (Pay Per Event).
According to sources, taking into account variations connected to tariff rate and volume, payouts on content paid for by the Payforit scheme will be 5% to 10% lower than using existing premium SMS for billing.

"This will have a huge impact on take-up of the scheme," said a source. "Orange has totally missed the point. There'll be no reason for content providers to move from premium SMS."

Another source who wished to remain anonymous told the NOC: "This proves the point that some mobile operators are not interested in the third party content business."
Ercisson's Peter Garside agrees that the IPX solution is an interim one, whilst at the same time expressing a desire on the part of content providers to explore this market. As a content provider myself, I have long decried the lack of WAP to SMS connectivity, and the hoops needed to go through to 'register' a mobile number to allow customers to buy content from WAP sites.

Some providers, notably T-Mobile, do provide a mechanism to pass non-identifying information about WAP customers to third party content providers, but only by prior agreement between T-Mobile and the content provider. Such services, such as my own GTIP WAP service are transparent to T-Mobile users, providing a seamless integration betweem the WAP experience and the SMS experience, something that I believe is desperately needed if WAP sales are ever to really become popular.

Oddly the architecture behind PayForIt and similar services looks a lot like an implementation of the concept of Transient Identity, where there is a disconnect between the vendor and the customer that is handled by an interstitial party, in this case the PayForIt service, however in this case it disconnects to the consumer entirely, relying on the PayForIt service to provide all billing and reconciliation services for all goods purchased online.

Business 2.0 article on Mobile Commerce

Mobile commerce has finally arrived, with PayPal, MasterCard, Cingular, and a host of startups fighting over the $24B cash-on-cell-phones market.

By Michal Lev-Ram, Business 2.0 Magazine writer-reporter

(Business 2.0 Magazine) -- When engineer Gaurav Oberoi went on vacation to Europe with friends in 2004, they decided not to worry about who paid for what until after the trip.

But that meant recording expenses in a paper notebook, typing the numbers into a spreadsheet, and e-mailing it back and forth. "Splitting bills can be a relationship killer," Oberoi says.


He knew there had to be a better way. So he and fellow engineer Chuck Groom quit (Charts) to build a company that tracks informal loans - a market the two dubbed "social money" - via cell phone.

Their Seattle startup, BillMonk, launched in January. Its free service sends reminders about what is owed to whom; BillMonk expects to cash in by charging for premium memberships that let you settle up by phone. More than 7,000 users have signed on already.

"The economy of informal debts is huge," Oberoi says. "All we're doing is making this invisible market visible, then monetizing it with payment options."

The market is indeed huge. An estimated $103 billion of social money - think split dinner checks and cab fares - is traded every year. And BillMonk isn't the only company poised to take a piece of it.

A growing group of startups and established players like PayPal, MasterCard (Charts), and Cingular are betting that the cell phone is about to become king of small, on-the-go, cashless transactions. Total worldwide mobile payments will reach $24 billion this year and $55 billion by 2008, according to technology analysts at Celent.

Deja Vu all over again

You're right if you think you've heard the idea before: Mobile commerce was indeed a buzzword in the late '90s. But as with a lot of ideas from that era, its time may have finally come.

"There was a lack of standards in this country, and the devices weren't quite ready," says Dan Schatt, a senior analyst at Celent. "But the stars are finally aligning. This will happen a lot faster than most people realize."

PayPal has a leg up in the social money game. In April it launched PayPal Mobile, a free service that lets PayPal users send as little as a penny (and as much as $1,000) to each other by text message and buy from merchants who display a special text-to-buy number.

"Mobile payments will be an exploding market," predicts Kevin Dulsky, senior director at PayPal Mobile. He won't say how many users have signed up so far, but PayPal itself has an installed base of more than 100 million.

It isn't short of rivals. Obopay, a startup in Redwood City, Calif., lets you transfer money via a downloadable application on a cell phone and then access that money at any ATM using a special debit card. Obopay scored $10 million in first-round venture funding and has alliances with MasterCard and Cingular.

Redmond-based TextPayMe lets users send a short code along with the recipient's phone number. The sender then receives a call that confirms the transaction. Billmycell users in San Diego can pay cab drivers and purchase e-tickets via cell phones. MyTango, a Menlo Park, Calif., startup backed by Atrium Capital, lets users pay for take-out food with their phones.

Then there's a technology called near-field communication, or NFC, which offers secure short-range payment between phones and payment terminals. Nokia (Charts) already has an NFC phone on the market, and this year MasterCard and Visa are beginning NFC trials.

"People carry their phone more often than their wallet these days," says Richard Fletcher, head of MasterCard's mobile wireless group. Motorola (Charts) is bringing its own payment system and NFC handset to market by early 2007. Research firm In-Stat expects as many as 25 million NFC-enabled phones to be on the U.S. market by 2011.

In the meantime, a lot of companies will get rich providing the infrastructure. Vivotech, based in Santa Clara, Calif., has shipped more than 160,000 NFC readers since it started selling them 18 months ago. How many more it sells depends on how fast consumers buy into the phone as a hassle-free solution for, say, settling up a European vacation.

New Player - PayMate

PayMate Mobile Payment Service Raises Millions

Matt Marshall writes for the San Jose Mercury News' SiliconBeat blog about PayMate, an India-based startup focusing on enabling mobile payments that has recently received venture financing. According to Marshall, "the investment continues the partnership formed by Google founding investor Ram Shriram and one of Silicon Valley's best-known venture firms, Kleiner Perkins."

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Poor mobile marketing response - MoCoNews

» A 75% Waste Of Mobile Marketing

There's an interesting post over at MobHappy about the difficulties of advertising mobile content, or more specifically of getting people to respond to advertising of mobile content and follow through to purchase it.
"The call to action is an inbound text message, which generates a WAP Push message to sign people up to the service. An amazing 75% never respond to the WAP Push."
There's some good comments there about what might be going on...

PayPal and Conde Nast - MocoNews

PayPal And Conde Nast Team For Mobile Shopping (reg required)

This is pretty interesting...Conde Nast is introducing a mobile shopping program into its magazine "Lucky", using PayPal Mobile Text2Buy. The program is called "Live Buy It" and will feature products from 18 companies, including Avon, Liz Claiborne, Estée Lauder, L'Oréal, Target and Unilever. There'll also be a website,

PayPal was chosen as the payment option because in a survey of the magazines readers 83% said they were familiar with the online payment company. The service will be run over the next few months, but the response from marketers was significant enough for Lucky to look at other programs -- December will see "text to try". "The idea would be to offer readers merchandise in smaller or sample sizes that "would help them decide what to give as gifts for the holidays," she added, "and buy it all through their cellphones." For example, readers could order from a fragrance maker miniature bottles of scents to try."

Will this work? The sampling thing might work, the shopping through mobile thing probably won't anytime soon.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Google Checkout- Payments News

How Google Checkout Could Threaten PayPal

Wade Roush writes for MIT's Technology Review about Google Checkout and the threat it could represent to PayPal for consumer ecommerce payments to merchants - even with its lack of a person-to-person payment capability. Roush suggests that, for consumers, it's a "relatively small step to give Google a credit card number and let the company track online purchases, especially when the promised reward is simpler transactions in the future, along with tools like the purchase history and transaction tracker."

[Editor's note: Seems like Wade has his merchant value proposition reversed - our understanding is that Google provides a credit toward Google Checkout fees based upon the amount the merchant spends on Google AdWords - at the rate of a $1 credit for every $10 spent on AdWords. We also noticed last night that Google is running its own AdWords ads promoting Google Checkout with the language: "Running an eCommerce site? Learn how you can process sales for free."]

Paymate - Payment News

Out Of India: Paymate

Rabin Ghosh reports on Paymate, a mobile commerce startup in India that has secured $5 million in venture funding from two of Silicon Valley’s leading venture capitals firms, Sherpalo Ventures and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

No interest in MMS in Europe -

Messaging - no more - say European mobile users

Souped-up handsets or no souped-up handsets

By Jo Best

Published: Monday 3 July 2006

Mobile content and services have been quickening operators' pulses - but it seems Joe Public couldn't care less.

A report from analyst house JupiterResearch has found that the majority of European consumers - some 68 per cent - are not interested in paying for any data services outside text and picture messaging.

Text messaging unsurprisingly remains the most accepted data service with 79 per cent adoption while - despite the increasing penetration of higher resolution camera phones - MMS trails a long way behind, with 28 per cent take-up by European mobile users.

Mobile video is popular with just eight per cent of the continent's mobiles, and personalisation services - such as ringtones and wallpapers - get the thumbs-up from a mere 15 per cent of users.

According to JupiterResearch, a dearth of suitable handsets cannot explain the lack of enthusiasm. As phones with more sophisticated functionality - such as internet access - have hit the market, use of such capabilities has not risen accordingly.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

PayPal's virtual debit card

PayPal's Two-Phase Rollout Of Virtual Debit Card

Digital Transactions reports that "PayPal will start rolling out its so-called virtual debit cardOrbiscom that is downloaded by the consumer, a single use MasterCard Debit account number is generated which can then be used at any MasterCard accepting ecommerce merchant. No changes are required by merchants to handle these transactions - effectively extending PayPal's reach to essentially all off-eBay ecommerce merchants. to “hundreds of thousands” of users some time this month in a process it expects to complete by the end of August." Using software from

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The best Google Checkout Overview

Google Checkout - Good or Bad for Smaller Online Businesses?

Nancy Hackett blogs a quick overview of Google Checkout and looks at what's in it for buyers, sellers and Google.

(courtesy of Payments News)

Monday, July 03, 2006

Payment options

Do Consumers Need More Ways To Pay Online?

Javelin Strategy & Research has announced the results of the 2006 Annual Javelin Consumer Payment Poll commissioned by PaymentOne - concluding that the majority of online consumers would buy more if safer and more convenient payment options were offered. Javelin reports that the Payment Poll responders said they would each spend $960 more per year if better payment options were available online, which, based on over 15 million active online buyers, translates to $14.4 billion of lost revenue opportunity for digital merchants.

LUUP in the Blogosphere (courtesy of Technorati)

  1. Making MCommerce Simple, Safe And Cheap

    Rob Perkins of the UK's LUUP writes a letter to the editor of the Financial Times about what's required for mobile commerce to succeed - saying "If we want m-commerce to take off, we have to focus

  2. Text To Pay

    [ Text_to_pay2] Encore une vidéo sur le paiement par mobile de personne à personne aux USA ... . Les solutions de P2P mobile payment: Europe : Crandy, Luup USA: Obopay, Paypal mobile

  3. UK tech PR client wins

    PR Week has reported that some tech PR accounts have been snapped up of late. Pleon has landed the Kyocera Mita account. Omniture has given its UK & France PR work to Carrot. Sigma Systems has given its UK PR to Kinross & Render. Norwegian firm LUUP has hired Brands2Life for UK PR.

  4. Luup en UK

    Après avoir démarré en Norvège, le moyen de paiement par mobile Luup annonce son arrivée sur les marchés anglais et allemand. Annonce de bonne augure pour le marché du m-payment en Europe après les

  5. Le système de paiement sur mobile LUUP gagne ...

    Le système de paiement sur mobile LUUP gagne l’Europe Posted in Articles, Dématérialisation monnaie, Téléphone Mobile by 131952 on the mai 29th, 2006 La société mère de LUUP, Contopronto, est norvégienne, et indépendante des opérateurs ... européenne conforme à la directive e-money. Son système de paiement sur mobile, LUUP, vient d’être agréé au

  6. M-Commerce is here!

    The long awaited e-Commerce revolution on the mobile phone, popularly called M-Commerce is finally here ... the technologies required are now in place, a company called LUUP a joint British and Norwegian

  7. M-commerce is coming

    Paying for items with a mobile phone could soon take off in the UK, in the same way it has overseas. LUUP, which is already up and running in Norway, allows users to send or receive money or pay for items. The phone is linked to a bank account, a credit or debit card. M-commerce

  8. M-Payments in the UK and Germany

    Mobile payments are moving in the UK and Germany. LUUP, the first payment system specifically for mobiles, launches today in both the UK and Germany. LUUP (called LUUPAY in Germany) allows consumers to use ... it: - Payments News - Guardian - LUUP’s press release

  9. New SMS peer-to-peer payment system launched

    A new mobile phone payment system has been launched in has been launched in the U.K. and Germany. LUUP (called LUUPAY in Germany) allows consumers to use their mobile phone like a wallet to shop

Our comment in the FT

Making m-commerce simple, safe and cheap

By Rob Perkins

Published: July 3 2006 03:00 | Last updated: July 3 2006 03:00

From Mr Rob Perkins.

Sir, With regard to your article on m-commerce ("Mobile phone? That'll do nicely", Digital Business, June 21): it is good to see the mobile payments industry in the spotlight, particularly in light of the recent flux of entrants into this market place. Right now, the biggest driver for the mobile payment industry is the youth market and its increasing demand for smaller purchases such as ringtones and wallpapers. For this market to expand, we need a simple, safe and cost-effective solution. Micro payments via premium SMS (short message service) simply aren't sustainable - the fees are too high for many merchants and simply unaffordable for many consumers.


Young people wanting to make small purchases via their mobile phone need a more cost-effective and controllable m-payment service. In Germany and the UK, mobile phone users can already make payments via a mobile e-money account, that can be topped up from a personal bank account or funded directly from credit/debit cards. Consumers can fully manage their account online, just as they would with online banking, and content providers also benefit from having a cheaper alternative to premium SMS.

The article also suggests that peer-to-peer money transfers via mobile phones are yet to be made possible. However, this concept is already available for consumers wanting to repay friends or split restaurant bills in the UK, Germany, Norway and Poland, for anyone with a mobile phone, any network and via a simple SMS.

If we want m-commerce to take off, we have to focus on making it simpler, safer and cheaper for consumers to make payments via their phone.

Rob Perkins,

Director - UK,


London W1J 8ED, UK

The Google Scoop

Google Checkout: Pros And Cons

Steve Bryant posts on his eWeek Google Watch blog about the pros and cons of Google Checkout in "Five Reasons Why You Won't Use Google Checkout (and 5 Reasons You Will)".

Google Checkout: Amazon's Worst Nightmare

Rafe Needleman posts on his CNET Web 2.0 blog that he believes Google Checkout is a serious threat to - because it makes checkout at non-Amazon merchant locations just about as convenient as buying via 1-Click on itself. He also points out that as a result of Google Checkout "no other online company will end up knowing as much about the spending behaviors of online consumers as Google."

Google Checkout: Who's On First?

A friend writes: "If I understand the Google Checkout service correctly, the point that all these analysts missed is that Google Checkout is a one-card wallet. Seems that point wasn't lost on Citi. In a one-card wallet, being first in the wallet, means you are top of wallet, so being first to market is a big deal. I suspect Google opted for a one-card wallet in order to create a very smooth customer checkout experience."

ZDNet: Google now baby-steps away from eBay-like auction service

Slashdot: Google Launches PayPal Rival

AuctionBytes: eBay's Fears Confirmed: Google Launches Checkout Service

Hands On: Google's New Checkout Service

Dennis O'Reilly of PC World writes about his first hand experiences with Google Checkout today. He says "I suspect the little green Google Checkout cart will soon be all over the Web."

PayPal vs. "GBuy"

Bruce Cundiff of Javelin Strategy and Research writes on his blog about PayPal vs. Google, thinking in terms of on eBay (where issues have been raised as to whether eBay would allow its merchants to accept a Google-provided payment service) vs. the off-eBay merchant opportunity (which is where he thinks the real battleground will be).

Move Over PayPal, Here Comes Google Checkout

Google this morning launched the long rumored (and often called GBuy) Google Checkout, a new online payment option for ecommerce merchants and online shoppers that plays on many of the same consumer themes of safety and convenience that have been key to PayPal's success. Google Checkout allows consumers to store - in a new version of an online wallet - their payment and shipping address information with Google. (According to Laura Petrecca writing for USA Today, "Google says it also is in talks with online payment service PayPal to let Checkout handle payments by holders of PayPal accounts, which connect with its users' credit cards and banks.") Assuming merchant acceptance of Google Checkout ramps up, the new service appears to position Google as a major hub for ecommerce transactions on the web.

PayPal's Virtual Debit Card

Yeah, I know, it's PayPal - but it's still relevant...

In an article mostly about Google's rumored launch of a payment service, Business Week's Robert Hof also mentions that next month PayPal will begin testing a "virtual debit card" for use on web sites that don't accept PayPal directly. According to Hof, using a small toolbar downloaded to their browser, PayPal users will be able to get a one time-use MasterCard card number linked to their PayPal account.

eBay Could Ban Google's GBuy As Payment Method

Ina Steiner reports for on eBay's Safe Payments Policy introduced last October and speculates that it seems unlikely that eBay would allow its sellers to advertise any new Google payment service in their eBay listings - at least initially.

TextPayMe Glitches - Payments News

TextPayMe Temporarily Disables Credit/Debit Card Funding

Friends are reporting receiving an email notice from mobile payments operator TextPayMe saying that they've "temporarily disabled" their credit/debit card payment option and will only be supporting funding directly from bank checking accounts in the meantime. In the email, TextPayMe says it plans to bring back the credit/debit card capability "shortly" along with introducing some other new features to the service.