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Billing Revolution debuts mobile commerce service for apps

The service is designed specifically for Android, BlackBerry and iPhone application developers, as well as mobile marketing agencies and publishers launching branded applications. The credit card billing service lets developers add on-the-go commerce capabilities to their existing mobile applications.

“Our strategy is to be the global market leader, and maintaining and solidifying market leadership will require that we partner with the leading developers, retailers, publishers, media companies, ad networks and content providers,” said Mike Dulong, cofounder/senior vice president of business development for Billing Revolution, Seattle, WA.

“We feel strongly that the smartphone developer community is creating the rich user experiences mobile consumers will demand,” he said. “Enabling these leading developers now allows us to secure and solidify our long-range market leadership position.”

Mobile commerce through applications allows developers to continue to create free applications and monetize their services by offering consumers the ability to buy goods and services.

This, in addition to ad support, is giving a major boost to the mass adoption of applications thanks to Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android and Research In Motion’s BlackBerry.

The platform gives mobile developers an alternative to selling digital applications through on-deck channels.

“The mobile billing and mobile payments industry is entering a period of explosive growth,” Mr. Dulong said. “Consumer adoption of the mobile Internet is accelerating quickly, and this has been a precursor to mobile commerce penetration and growth.

“With the introduction of the iPhone and other similar offerings from competing handset manufacturers, this trend is expected to continue,” he said.

Billing Revolution’s mobile billing platform works across all Web-enabled phones, enabling impulse purchases of digital and physical goods such as concert tickets, games, books, sports merchandise and travel packages.

Developers interested in exploring mobile commerce applications for the iPhone, Android and BlackBerry will now be able to access the tool-box directly from

The service is free for developers and involves a per-transaction fee based on all purchases powered by Billing Revolution.

The biggest selling point is the opportunity for developers to bypass mobile operator billing. Carriers get as much as 55 percent of developers’ revenue.

According to a 2008 report released by the Nielsen Company, more than nine million Americans — 9.2 million, to be exact — have used their mobile phones to pay for goods or services.

Half of all data users — 49 percent — say they expect to participate in mobile commerce in the future.

Frost & Sullivan estimates that mobile commerce revenues from the sale of physical goods is expected to exceed $1.4 billion in the U.S. by 2013.

Billing Revolution provides technology that enables secure credit card purchases from a mobile phone.

Merchants use Billing Revolution’s proprietary “single-click” technology to provide a mobile optimized purchase experience, letting consumers make credit card purchases without a user name or pin code requirement.

Using the platform, individuals or large merchants have the ability to conduct “single-click” credit card transactions from any Web-enabled mobile phone.

“Consumer adoption of smartphones and mobile data represent the only remaining barriers to mass-market adoption of mobile billing and payments,” Mr. Dulong said. “From our experience, consumer trust and comfort with the security is much higher among smartphone users.”

The U.S. mobile commerce industry is lagging behind other markets worldwide, although there are signs that it is starting to catch up.

“The U.S. mobile billing and payments space is two-to-three years behind the European and pan-Asian markets,” Mr. Dulong said. “This has primarily been due to a fear culture in the U.S. with regard to perceived operator backlash combined with the ‘upgrade’ market we have in here in the U.S. with regard to hardware.”

Billing Revolution’s target clients are companies that are currently selling products to mobile consumers, including game publishers, movie studios and media companies.

Other targets are companies that are just beginning to embrace mobile commerce, such as  apparel companies, online retailers, travel companies — online booking engines, cruise lines, air lines and hotel chains — restaurants, service providers, individuals looking to sell things, online auction sites, movie ticket sellers and charitable foundations.

“Any company or individual that has a product or service to sell represents our ideal candidate,” Mr. Dulong said. “Mobile publishers and/or media companies that have an ad-supported model could introduce mobile-commerce-enabled advertising.”

For example, a local news station affiliate could engage a local advertiser to sells its products through a mobile media ad placement.

Or, a national network could engage a national advertiser to sell travel products or DVDs of a hot new DVD release.

“Anything you can think of really, and it doesn’t have to be limited to what you might sell as part of an online campaign, as mobile suggests new verticals of advertisers that would not necessarily enjoy the same ROI from an online placement,” Mr. Dulong said.

“Up until now, the direct response executions in mobile advertising have been really limited to click-to-call and, in rare instances, a game download from a carrier storefront with few exceptions,” he said. “Mobile represents the most personal and powerful direct response marketing channel we’ve ever had the opportunity to leverage.”