Thursday, June 14, 2007

Benchmark in 3 of 10 biggest virtual worlds

GigaOm has compiled a list of the top ten MMOs (massively multiplayer online worlds) and it's not in the order most would expect.

Second Life, the virtual world operated by Linden Research that is backed by Benchmark Capital, comes in at the bottom of the list. But, that's okay for Benchmark, since the venture capital firm also counts the second and sixth most popular virtual worlds as investments.

1. World of Warcraft - owned by Vivendi
2. Habbo Hotel - Operated by Finland's Sulake Corp. and backed by Benchmark Capital, 3i Group and Elisa Group
3. RuneScape - Operated by Jagex in the U.K.
4. Club Penguin - Bootstrapped in Canada. Whatever happened to that $450 million Sony sale?
5. Webkinz - Owned by Ganz, a wholesale gift company in Canada. That makes five of the top five based outside the U.S.
6. Gaia Online - Silicon Valley startup backed by Benchmark Capital, Redpoint Ventures and DAG Ventures
7. Guild Wars - owned by South Korea's NCSoft Corp
8. Puzzle Pirates - owned by UbiSoft
9. Lineage I/II - owned by NCSoft Corp
10. Second Life - Operated by Linden Research and funded by Globespan Capital Partners, Benchmark Capital, Catamount Ventures and the Omidyar Network

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

PaymentOne Adds Mobile Payments to Service

A good bunch of guys at PaymentOne. Congrats on the mobile service launch! Very cool...

SAN JOSE, CA--(Marketwire - June 12, 2007) - PaymentOne® Corporation, one of the world's fastest growing online Payment Services Providers (PSPs) and a leader in alternative payments, announced the addition and immediate availability of mobile payments with its industry leading PhoneBill™ service. In addition to the over 100 million phone/broadband consumers, PaymentOne customers will now be able to offer over 150 million mobile phone consumers a simple and safe way to charge online digital content purchases to their cell phone. PaymentOne is the first provider to combine broadband and landline billing capabilities with mobile payments, providing online merchants a one-stop shop for alternative "no credit card required" payments.

To use their mobile bill to pay for online transactions, consumers can simply send a message to a specific short code or enter their mobile number into the merchant web site. Consumers will then confirm and authorize the charge and be able to access the content or service. Celent, a major industry analyst, expects the value of mobile payments worldwide will more than double in the next couple of years, jumping from $24 billion this year to $55 billion by 2008. Consumers, including younger demos as well as well-established segments with substantial disposable income, continue to demand safer, more convenient ways to pay online. Deploying advanced payment options represents a significant growth opportunity and competitive imperative for online merchants, and unlike other major enhancements, does not require up front investment or incremental marketing costs.

"No credit card required" payment options represent significant potential for content providers and network operators to attract more consumers. When asked specifically which existing bill they would like to add small purchases to, a majority of consumers pick their existing phone bills (see full 2007 Digital Media Payment Report at "We are pleased to provide our merchants even more ways to monetize and transact," said Joe Lynam, CEO of PaymentOne. "As lines will increasingly blur between mobile, online and IPTV, consumers and merchants alike will demand a safe, secure and low friction payment process irrespective of the medium. The consumer preference to simply 'bill it to my account' can now be even better served with our combined offer of Mobile, Fixed-Line and Broadband Carrier billing."

Since 2000, PaymentOne's flagship PhoneBill service has enabled consumers to simply charge internet services to their existing phone and broadband bills. PaymentOne merchants have seen increases in new revenues of 25 to 35 percent. PaymentOne merchants have generated over $2.5 billion in incremental revenues by deploying "no credit card required" payment options, and have acquired millions of new subscribers that were previously unreachable. PaymentOne's PhoneBill™ service including mobile payments is available immediately.