Mobile social media blooming… on iPhone

Ronny Kerr · July 17, 2009 · Short URL:

With iPhone apps spiking in popularity, non-Apple devices looking dim, for now

First, social media grew exponentially. Then smartphones started selling like crazy. What’s next? It’s mobile social media’s time to shine!

Representatives from four social media companies met yesterday to discuss this rising star at the MobileBeat 2009 Conference in an afternoon session called “Social Media, Mobile Content: It Used to be Ringtones – Now It’s Social.” In a meeting with such a non-partisan title, much of the talk unsurprisingiPhone FBly swirled around Apple’s ever-popular iPhone.

Why? It comes down to the numbers.

Zynga, one of the biggest builders of social media games, sees about 17,000,000 active users a day and 64,000,000 users throughout the month, many of which come through its iPhone apps. Facebook, currently the most popular social networking site, counts over 30,000,000 active users of its mobile app daily.

Asked what opportunities he sees beyond the iPhone, Facebook Mobile representative Henri Moissiniac says his company is following the numbers. Furthermore, he expressed the company’s refusal to simply port the iPhone app to other platforms: “We are not doing copy-paste.” He did show some interest in the Palm Pre’s ability to run multiple apps at once, hinting at the possibility of integration between Facebook and the Pre’s address book.

Despite efforts of VentureBeat moderator Eric Eldon to steer the conversation away from the iPhone for even a second, nobody seemed terribly interested in Google’s Android, while the Palm Pre only got a few nods. It’s not that the panel found the Apple competitors uninteresting, but the fact that they are so new to the game means they aren’t the focus right now. As SGN CEO Shervin Pishevar said, “If it weren’t for Apple, we’d still be waiting.”

Even with that in mind, the panel agreed for the most part that the future looks bright and free for all aspects of social media on mobile devices. Though Apple certainly blazed the trail and owns the mobile social media market with the iPhone, this won’t always be the case.

Zynga CEO Mark Pincus foresees platforms opening up, increasing standardization, rising competition, acceleration of seamless app distribution, and creation of frictionless payment methods. Zong CEO David Marcus echoed sentiments that frictionless payment methods will be a requirement for mobile apps in the months to come, adding that we should expect very exciting usage of location services, social viral distribution, and enhanced reality apps.

Pishevar said it best: "Right now is a time of great experimentation. The companies that are going to succeed are going to be the ones that iterate really, really fast."

MobileBeat 2009

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SGN, Social Gaming Network, is the largest developer of social and mobile games. SGN's current network of games commands over 12 million downloads of its suite of games on the iPhone and iPod Touch, including Agency Wars, Mafia: R&R and iBowl.  It also has more than one million game players per day across multiple social networking platforms including Facebook, MySpace, Bebo.

Since the company was founded, SGN's driving goal has been to create the most exciting, inventive and engaging games for the new social world.  Integrating innovative social gaming across all social networking platforms and through to socila mobile gaming



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Zynga is the largest social gaming company with 8.5 million daily users and 45 million monthly users.  Zynga’s games are available on Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Hi5, Friendster, Yahoo! and the iPhone, and include Texas Hold’Em Poker, Mafia Wars, YoVille, Vampires, Street Racing, Scramble and Word Twist.  The company is funded by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, IVP, Union Square Ventures, Foundry Group, Avalon Ventures, Pilot Group, Reid Hoffman and Peter Thiel.  Zynga is headquartered at the Chip Factory in San Francisco.  For more information, please visit



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Zong is the leading mobile payments platform for sellers of digital goods and services. Its frictionless payment experience converts shoppers into buyers at rates up to 10 times greater than traditional payment methods. Zong leverages direct connections with mobile network operators around the world to provide a secure payment solution with unrivaled connectivity and service quality. Zong is the mobile payment provider for Facebook Credits and also works with hundreds of leading destination sites, such as Gaia Online, IMVU and Playdom. Reaching over 2 billion mobile users, Zong provides localized payment capabilities in over 30 countries in 16 languages. Zong is the only mobile payments platform that combines the high conversion rates of carrier billing with the low costs and flexibility of payment card networks. Zong is based in Menlo Park with offices in Paris and Geneva, and is backed by Matrix Partners, Advent Venture Partners and Newbury Ventures. For more information, please visit