From a conceptual standpoint, I quite like BuzzCity’s new Mobilizer product: it takes RSS feeds and converts them into mobile Internet friendly pages free of cost, and allows the owner of the RSS feed to monetize that website with advertising from BuzzCity’s Publisher program. The Mobile Internet space isn’t exactly flushed with inventory, particularly in India, and this move helps the Naspers funded company get scale and get long-tail inventory for monetization. They also generate a mobile specific (Buzz City) URL for the site and a site-specific QR code. Why would I, as a publisher, want to promote a Buzz City URL?
The product has its hitches. I tried the demo for MediaNama, and at places, the text was missing and all I got was an ‘images removed’ note (screencap), even though I knew the article had text. Links to other content had also been removed (screencap). In terms of the form factor, it’s not possible to view multiple headlines on MediaNama’s Mobilized version – only the first two articles are visible initially, and navigation to previous content is difficult. Doesn’t quite work for us since we update multiple times a day.
That said, from a conceptual perspective, we really like the product, and we’d like to see more companies enable mobile Internet friendly form factor for existing online businesses.
Mobilizer is similar to what I had suggested to some other mobile advertising networks, and also reminds me of what MyToday tried with NayaNaya.mobi, publishing content stripped all the mobile-unfriendly features. The difference between what MyToday has done with NayaNaya.mobi and what BuzzCity is doing, is that the onus is on the publishers to sign up (it’s opt-in), while NayaNaya.mobi still publishes entire content feeds, without explicit consent. On a more positive note: more content is accessible at NayaNaya.mobi, and the links work.