NewBay unveils content-sharing system

27 Oct 2004

NewBay Software, the wireless software firm run by former Baltimore marketing director Paddy Holahan, has announced what it says is the first mobile content sharing application. FoneShare enables subscribers to buy, store and share mobile content such as ringtones, games, music, wallpapers and trailers. The application is intended to promote legal, viral distribution of mobile content amongst subscribers.

The new technology, which was unveiled yesterday at a trade show in San Francisco, is being marketed to mobile operators worldwide, with the pitch that it will help them increase mobile content sales, reduce marketing costs, increase ARPU and decrease subscriber churn.

“FoneShare is specifically designed to enable the legal, viral distribution of mobile content. Users automatically build a fun, interactive mobile community, where they easily recommend content to each other and easily find mobile content they want. FoneShare’s unique referral feature instantly turns mobile subscribers into a powerful sales team for their favorite content,” said Holahan.

Each FoneShare user has a unique personal web address where people can view lists of purchases together with comments and recommendations. FoneShare users can see content purchases by their friends (‘FonePals’) and can communicate directly or through virtual communities (‘FoneClubs).

FoneShare users can form online identities, buy content and suggest content purchases to other FoneShare users. Each user is awarded ‘merit points’ based on their activity, and the super-users can be rewarded with free content or discounted services.

FoneShare’s referral engine automatically prompts users to buy content when recommended by their friends. The system also prompts users to buy content based on their previous choices and preferences.

According to the company, traditional content purchasing systems can require text messaging and entering of product codes. With FoneShare, however, users can buy referred content with a single click on their mobile phone.

On the key issue of Digital Rights Management (DRM) protection, the company says that FoneShare provides full server control over the distribution of content and applies the appropriate DRM system to ensure content is protected and paid for as each user buys.

NewBay specialises in providing cutting-edge mobile content engines and has previously developed what it claimed was the first blogging system for mobile phones. The company secured more than €3m in venture capital funding from Benchmark Capital at the start of the year.

By Brian Skelly