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Flirtomatic partners with AT&T to expand reach

The company has hired ex-AT&T executive Gary Cohen to be its U.S. general manager. Consumers can meet, flirt and talk to other users via their handsets.

“The premise of Flirtomatic was based on the thought of what dating would look like when it goes mobile,” said Gary Cohen, vice president and general manager at Flirtomatic, San Francisco. “In order to monetize, Flirtomatic offers a freemium business model that provides the application free to users, but enables mobile network operators to make money with premium services.

“Users can buy FlirtPoints to spend on promoting themselves, finding out who has rated them and sending virtual gifts,” he said.

“Rather than focus on one-off application payments and monthly recurring charges, a blended model of micropayments, virtual currencies, ecommerce, advertising and user-driven advertising provides a more sustainable revenue foundation.”

Mobile flirt
Flirtomatic is available to mobile users in Britain, Germany, Australia and the United States through its partnerships with Vodafone, T-Mobile, Orange, Metro PCS and now AT&T.

Additionally, the company offers Web access so consumers can flirt from any mobile phone.

After setting up an account, consumers can send flirty messages, chat live, search profiles, find people who live nearby and search by gender, age, interests and activity.

In addition, users can send a virtual gift, kiss or wink to start a conversation and send a flirtbomb to it many flirts in one go.

“With this partnership we are able to extend our presence and our brand partner’s presence to AT&T’s over 85 million subscribers,” Mr. Cohen said. “We are also helping AT&T to understand two elements of our business model that are very new for them and their users – Freemium Services and selling a wallet of Flirtpoints with a third-party currency.

“We’re excited to be able to work with AT&T to deliver a profitable, innovative application that is popular and has an active and engaged user base,” he said.

Flirty text
Consumers can buy their own user-generated advertising in the Look At Me section, where they bid in real-time auctions to get more attention than rivals.

There is also a feature where users can browse the top-rated gallery to find the most popular, the most snogged and the most generous people on the site.

Users can rate their favorites, find out who rated them, see who has checked them out and see who is currently online.

Flirtomatic is available from the AT&T Media mall in the social net category and through an iPhone application.

“There is currently a proliferation of application stores being built and launched,” he said. “We have to be cautious here about spreading our development work too thin.

“Therefore we have to be very strategic in understanding the addressable market for each innovation we bring to our service, both now and in looking three years ahead,” Mr. Cohen said. “For now, Android looks like the right bet to build for.

“Flirtomatic is also in talks with several other mobile carriers in North America and other global markets to extend the application through the carrier channel.”