domingo, 2 de enero de 2011

For Apps, Profit Focus Is Blurry - WSJ.com

For Apps, Profit Focus Is Blurry - WSJ.com



Companies in recent months have launched a slew of photography applications for the iPhone and other smartphones, but many of these start-ups are still trying to figure out the best way to profit from their software programs.
The apps, many of which are free to download, let users apply special effects to photos they snap with their phones. The apps also make it easy to share photos on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
The apps have garnered millions of downloads in the past year, but building a business model has proved trickier. Some of the app makers are charging users for extra features; others plan to sell advertising or even prints of the snapshots. At least one start-up is exploring the idea of alerting a cellphone user to nearby advertisers once the person has snapped a photo.
Bloomberg News
New apps for smartphones let users apply special effects to pictures or share photos on social media sites.
"It's hard to monetize the apps right now because there are so many especially in the photography space," said Thomas McLeod, president of app maker Imaginary Feet LLC. "It's hard not to get lost in the oversaturation of the other apps."
Apps have to generate enough interest and not get lost in the pile. According to AppleInc., there are now more than 300,000 apps in its store alone, compared with 140,000 last January.
Currently, 28% of people in the U.S. have smartphones, according to ABI Research. Sales this holiday season indicate that an even larger percentage of Americans will have them in 2011, says Neil Strother, an analyst with ABI Research.
More and more smartphone consumers are using the devices as their primary camera. And as Dow Jones Newswires's Roger Cheng reports, app developers are getting in on the trend. He gives you his take on some of the mobile photo editing tools and sharing programs that have been cropping up.
Since smartphones have built-in cameras but little in the way of photo-editing tools, a crop of companies have stepped into the void. The latest notable entrant: Foursquare introduced a photo-sharing capability in December to its location-based service. Now, as Foursquare's five million users "check in" at a location, they'll have the ability to share a picture of where they are, and their friends can comment on it.
Foursquare isn't planning to make money off the photo feature directly, but hopes it's an added lure for people to use the main app, says Alex Rainert, head of product of Foursquare.
Another offering, the free Instagr.am app, has been downloaded more than one million times since it was released in October. Users can snap photos, tweak them with filters and then share them with followers, much like users share text and links on Twitter.
Kevin Systrom, chief executive of Burbn Inc., the start-up behind Instagr.am, says he is considering adding local advertising. Under one scenario, users might take a picture and would then see a "nearby" tab listing local businesses such as bars and restaurants. Those businesses would pay for placement.
However, Mr. Systrom says such ideas will have to wait until the company has enough users to attract advertisers. "Our goal is to grow as big as possible. Any ad firms want to buy in the millions of users," he says.
PicPlz is a similar free app created by Mixed Media Labs Inc. It first became available in June, and has been downloaded 200,000 times and has 100,000 registered users on its website, says Dalton Caldwell, founder of Mixed Media Labs. But the company hasn't made money from the app yet.
Mr. Caldwell recently received $5 million of venture capital from Andreessen Horowitz as the seven-person company develops its business model. He says he will use the funds in part to hire an ad sales team.
Imaginary Feet makes SpyPic, a $1.99 iPhone app that allows users to surreptitiously take photos by suppressing flash and other tactics. It has been downloaded more than 120,000 times since its August launch, but only 10,000 of those downloads were paid, Mr. McLeod says. The others were downloaded free as part of regular promotions.
A large number of photo apps have cropped up that allow you to tweak pictures, add filters, tag on information about subject and location, and post them on social-networking sites. But what's the business model behind the increasingly popular free apps? Roger Cheng reports.
Mr. McLeod says the app is profitable, but that monetizing apps of any sort is difficult. The company doesn't do any advertising inside the app.
One firm that has gotten traction with its business model is Synthetic Corp., a San Francisco-based maker of photo apps including Hipstamatic.
Since Hipstamatic's launch in December 2009, the $1.99 app has been downloaded more than 1.7 million times. The app allows users to choose different lenses, films and flashes. The firm charges 99 cents for a package of add-ons such as infrared.
The company generates a third of its revenue from those extras, says CEO Lucas Buick, and is profitable. In September, it launched a service where users can send in photos and pay a fee for printed copies.
Some bigger players are getting into the photo app game, but often to drive sales of products rather than generate app revenue. Eastman Kodak Co.'s Pic Flick app allows users to print mobile photos to their Kodak wireless printers.
Since November 2009, the free app has been downloaded more than 40,000 times. "It drives revenue and more use of printing," so people need to buy more Kodak ink, says Tom Hoehn, director of interactive marketing for Kodak.

Santiago Jimenez

Mi foto

Global Business Entrepeneur
Maat International Group

www.jimenezbarrull.com

(Spanish presentation)
Presidente y Socio-Fundador de maat International Group. Promotora e Inversora en Iniciativas de Corporate Finance y Empresas Base Tecnológica en los Sectores de Tecnologías de Información, Media y Comunicación; Energía Renovable y Biotecnología con presencia en Madrid, Ginebra, Dubai, México DF, Bucaramanga (Colombia) y Buenos Aires (Argentina). Knowledge Alliance cuenta con más de 350 empleados en 8 países, siendo una de las compañías de referencia en el panorama internacional en Gestión de la Innovación y Crecimiento Sostenible.

Consejero & Director General en distintas compañías de Consultoría, Tecnología, Corporate y Outsorcing especializada en Banca, Administración Pública, Media y Telecomunicaciones contando como clientes –entre otros- a las principales compañías del IBEX-35 y los principales integradores de sistemas y telecomunicaciones a nivel nacional. Consejero Director General. maat Green. maat Green es una compañía de ingeniería en energías renovables especializada en Arquitectura Bioclimática, Biomasa, Geotermia, siendo considerada una de las principales compañías de energía en España. Trayectoria Profesional Director General de Telefónica Servicios Avanzados de Información (TSAI) Subdirector General del Ministerio de Industria y Energía. MINER Gerente de la Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED). Manager Consultant KPMG Peat Marwick Director de Estudios. Instituto de Fomento de la Región de Murcia A lo largo de su carrera profesional ha sido igualmente miembro de distintos Consejos de Administración, Asociaciones Empresariales y Entidades Multilaterales, siendo de destacar, entre otras:

Ha sido miembro  del Consejo Rector de la Asociación para el Progreso de la Dirección – Castilla-La Mancha Vicepresidente Agencia Española para el Desarrollo e Innovación de la Sociedad de la Información (AEDISI) Socio Fundador de la Asociación Española de Comercio Electrónico (AEDISI) Vicepresidente de CommerceNet Español. Consejero de la Agencia de Certificación Española (ACE) Manager Line of Business Electronic Commerce de ATT&Unisource Alliance Ha sido miembro del Consejo de Administración de AXIS-Participaciones Empresariales; Compañía Española de Refianzamiento (CERSA); Empresa Nacional de Innovación (ENISA); Compañía de Financiación del Desarrollo (COFIDES),… Presidente de la Comisión Multilateral para Financiación de las PYMEs -Ministerio de Industria, Ministerio de Economía y Hacienda; CESGAR (Confederación Española de Sociedades de Garantía Recirprocas) y AEB (Asociación Española de Banca Privada)-. Miembro de ASCRI –Asociación Española de Capital Riesgo- en representación del Capital Riesgo de la Administración General del Estado. Formación Académica Licenciado en Economía. Técnico de Administración Civil en excedencia en la Administración General del Estado –Ministerio de Economía y Hacienda-. Ha cursado estudios en Ingeniería de Telecomunicaciones e Ingeniería Informática en distintas Universidades y Escuelas de Negocio en España y Estados Unidos. Igualmente ha ampliado estudios en “Business Education” y “Executive Education” en distintas Escuelas de Negocio: IMD (Lausanne), IESE (Barcelona), Harvard (Boston) y Universidad de Houston.

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(English Version)

maat International Group is a leading ecosystem of companies specialized in Corporate Finance; Strategy; Trading and Technology 
Professional activities Vice-President and Member of Board of Directors of selected information society related Associations –COMMERCENET, AEDISI, AECE, APD,...- Experience Telefonica Group – Managing Director Value Added Services/Setting-up the first ASP ́s in Spain in 1996 ATT/Unisoruce Alliance – Manager Line of Business ISP/Electronic Commerce Spanish Public Administration – Key Senior positions in Education, Research, Innovation and Venture Capital for SMEs KPMG – Senior Management Consultant – Strategic innovation and disruptive business models in the Public and Private Sectors.

Holds degrees  at IMD, IESE, RCC-Harvard
Sectors of Personal Expertise: other technology sector / software & it services / other ict / software / it services / internet applications & portals / other it / fixed telephone systems & services / wireless telephone/mobile communications / mobile applications / communications & network systems (incl. satellite comms) / advertising & search / e-commerce / social media / other webmedia