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Cellufun takes virtual goods currency for mobile global

Consumers can now buy FunCoins to purchase Cellufun virtual goods with one easy click and charge the purchase to their mobile phone bill.

“Cellufun is taking advantage of the obvious demand for virtual goods that’s been growing exponentially over the last few years,” said Keith Katz, vice president of marketing at Cellufun, New York. “Virtual goods are now a $5 billion market, but most of that activity has taken place on the Internet rather than over the mobile Web.

“This is especially true in the West,” he said. “Cellufun has been working very hard over the last 12 months to remove the barriers that have kept virtual good payments from taking off on mobile and is now in a position to be the global leader in mobile virtual good transactions.”

In the United States, virtual goods transactions are predicted to top $1 billion by the end of 2009.

Making payments easy, secure, and widely available for consumers has been one of the key inhibitors to virtual goods growth on mobile.

“Mobile commerce has been inhibited by a number of obstacles, including consumers’ concern over security and difficulty of use—to name just a couple,” Mr. Katz said. “There are some great billing companies out there and some great content providers, but until now no company selling virtual goods has been able to aggregate all of these international players and plug them seamlessly into their platform like Cellufun has.

“Consumers can now buy FunCoins all over the world, and the process is basically the same no matter where you are,” he said.

Mr. Katz also said that it is going to be a while—more than a year—before other content publishers can do this.

Users of Cellufun’s mobile community use FunCoins to buy virtual goods such as clothes, jewelry, furniture, pets and flirts.
Cellufun integrates directly with wireless carriers and payment providers to make FunCoins available globally.

Coverage includes North America, most of the European Union, India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, South Africa, Thailand and Turkey.
Cellufun will soon allow payments in South America, China, and dozens of other countries.

“For consumers, you can now fully engage with the Cellufun community—buy that rare pet, those cool sunglasses, or that helpful power-up—no matter where you are and what carrier you use,” Mr. Katz said. “That’s huge, since in the past you’d have to worry about what would happen if you went from AT&T to Verizon or went from a BlackBerry to a Nokia.

“For marketers, you now have a platform for incorporating virtual storefronts and virtual goods on a global scale,” he said. “So that means if you want 8 million avatars running around in your branded blue jeans in the U.S., Germany, and Indonesia you can do that on mobile.

“There’s no longer the sense that you have to settle for a web based virtual world or some iPhone app that no one will see. This is all about providing options for consumers wishing to buy virtual goods on their mobile phones and the marketers who want to reach them.”