Italy’s Buongiorno is aiming to become one of the top brands in mobile social networks and toward that goal, the company unveiled blinko, a proprietary solution specifically designed for mobile use.
In fact, the company wants to become one of the top three brands in at least 10 countries. It launched blinko today in Italy, the United Kingdom and Spain with a presentation at the World Business Forum in Milan, Italy, that included speaker Jimmy Wales, creator of Wikipedia.
Buorngiorno’s specialty is mobile, so it is not trying to take a wired Web-based approach with blinko, said Lucia Predolin, head of marketing at Buongiorno. According to a white paper written by Informa for Buongiorno, the most successful mobile social network players long-term will be the pure-play companies – those like Buongiorno. Informa predicts there will be 428 million global users of mobile social networking by 2012.
Later, blinko will be available in the United States; the company is just waiting for a final OK from one major operator; it already has approvals from several others, including Sprint Nextel, Boost Mobile and Alltel.
The company worked to develop blinko for almost a year, according to David Casalini, technical product director. The service is designed for practically any model of phone, from the basic to the most sophisticated smartphones. Features include status updates using pictures from a mobile phone album; simultaneous chat across platforms; and free SMS.
In September, Buongiorno kicked off a 4-week viral advertising campaign to generate interest around blinko. The campaign was designed and created by DLV Proximity and distributed in Italy and Spain by GoViral. At the time, Predolin said the meeting-and-chatting place in Italian culture always has been the piazza. Now, with the Internet and mobile phone technology, people can meet in enormous “digital piazzas” with no geographical boundaries.
Blinko is being offered to users free of charge; they pay what their mobile carrier charges for Internet access under their data plan. The service is currently available in three languages – Italian, English and Spanish – and will be expanded to include Portuguese, French and German.
Buongiorno expects to derive revenue through revenue shares with operators, selling premium content and advertising.
Rocket Mobile, based in Los Gatos, Calif., is a subsidiary of Buorngiorno Group, through a 2006 acquisition.