A few years back, users had nowhere to go for off-portal mobile sites other than a few “link collectors” that were mostly filled with obsolete links. Thats why Bango created a directory of sites, based on site creators simply registering their site, a description and an image or two at Bango plus a few keywords to assist in search.
It was available at bango.net on a phone, and also in the “world of content” on a PC (at bango.com/woc or www.bango.net ).
Also, when users “fell out” of a payment flow, because of excessive “back buttoning” or because CP’s did not set a home phrase to recover users to, users were re-directed to bango.net to go to “last visited” (hopefully a good place to recover to).
Bango.net also allowed viral spread of mobile sites – through its innovative “tell a friend” – and lists of favourite sites.
Very quickly hundreds of thousands of people created lists of favourites and used the Bango directory to find and share sites.
At the same time, content providers, especially big ones, told us they did not like the idea of users falling out of their sites into a “shopping mall”. This was especially the case when people might find adult content “accidentally” because the US carriers to not yet have an age verification process. Thats why users “falling out” of the bango payment flow in the USA got a version of bango.net without a directory for the last couple of years.
Also, we started to feed the information collected by CP’s populating the directory into other search engines like Yahoo and Google, so that their sites would be found via that route as well as by “stumbling across” Bango.net. Thats why many Bango sites get a lot of traffic from Google or Yahoo without having fed the relevant site maps themselves.
We took a decision in mid 2006 to split the functions of the “2005 bango.net” into two parts. (1) Payment and analytics flow handling – kept with Bango.net and (2) Traffic generation and use interface via WAP.com
We are about 75% of the way through that process.
Bango.net is focussed on being a utility and API for content providers to tap in to the power of the Bango system. It provides payment services (automatically selecting the best biller), tracking (userid, operator etc.), subscription management, and in future some new cool features that will be announced soon.
WAP.com is focussed on users. Its a place to go to find content – though its search feature. It enables creation of communities built round shared views of sites (Favoritos.wap.com mtv.wap.com suave.wap.com and many others – watch this space).
Its a place you can keep your own favourite sites, and where you can share with peopel your friends. Its a place where you can speak out and show a picture (whoop and icon and more to come soon). WAP.com also has a “find content” feature, which has recently been modified to enable its use more widely in the USA. It is fed via the Bango directory. Finally, you can use yoursite.wap.com as a URL and monitor the accesses to that URL at bango.com
We have some great plans for WAP.com which is gaining users fast. People use WAP.com much more than bango.net and we are also expecting great things from some of our partners who will be promoting branded WAP.com’s.
Content providers should continue to populate the directory – it feeds the WAP.com “find content” and also gets your content fed into other search engines.
We haev also just enhanced the data collection to add more info – now available in Starter Packages initially – so we can feed more to the search engines and WAP.com
WAP.com is a great destination for mobile users and we are adding some interesting featires for CP’s to explicitly use WAP.com (like “add to my waplist”) and we are doing a lot to bridge users from their PC’s to their mobiles via WAP.com
So, in a nutshell, traffic to the Bango Directory is declining via “bango.nat accidental discovery” but its climbing due to WAP.com and it drives Google, Yahoo and Jumptap traffic to CP sites. As WAP.com starts to really accelerate, watch your traffic climb – if you have interesting content!!!
If you want to see how popular WAP.com is getting, watch the www.bango.co/live traffic and you will see the proportion of users that are WAP.com users. Very soon you will be able to even see which users coming to your site are WAP.com people!