Friday, February 6, 2009

Club Cooee Releases Slick 3D Messenger In Open Beta (Grab An Invite)

Stefan from Kaiserlautern's Club Cooee was nice enough to reach out to PG & Team about this new 3d chat platform. Here is what TechCrunch as to say about this impressive new 3d chat world. In PG's opinion, it makes IMVI look kinda dated. Great work and good luck Stefan and Team:

"German startup Club Cooee has launched its 3D instant messaging service in private beta, and it doesn’t disappoint. The service is a hybrid between traditional instant messengers like AIM and 3D social networks like Second Life, allowing users to converse in chat bubbles while using their 3D avatars to express emotions, and can also share photos and links visually. ... "The application is very sleek, sporting an intuitive interface and quick, good looking graphics. Each user can customize the appearance of their 3D avatar to their liking by modifying both their physical appearance and purchasing in-game outfits using Club Cooee credits. Players can converse either in private chats or as groups, and can meet in a number of public rooms designed to look like virtual restaurants and meeting places. Each player is also given a room that they can spruce up using a variety of in-game items, like televisions (which will be able to show YouTube videos) and furniture.

HERE is the Good Payment Stuff ... well, kinda the same old same old so far ...

"To monetize, the site will allow users to buy extra credits to purchase virtual goods, and will also offer premium services for a fee. Founder Alexander Jorias says that the service is also planning to generate revenue with a number of B2B partners, and that little, if any money will come from standard advertising."

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Facebook Loses Money 5 years in a Row

From our good freinds at; Facebook has celebrated its fifth birthday with 150 million guests but no clear path to profitability. Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, who co-founded the social networking website with two Harvard University roommates five years ago, marked the occasion in low-key fashion with a blog post urging members to send a virtual gift to their online friends. "In the spirit of celebrating connections between people, we encourage you to use this gift to give thanks to your friends, colleagues and family members with whom you are connected on Facebook," he wrote. Zuckerberg, 24, said he was "humbled" by the phenomenal growth of a website which began as a way for his fellow Harvard students to stay connected and has blossomed into a worldwide network that has dwarfed rival MySpace. "Facebook was founded in 2004 to give people the tools to engage and understand the world around them," he said. "We are glad and humbled that so many people are using Facebook in this way."

Zuckerberg, who has a personal worth of 1.5 billion dollars according to Forbes magazine, launched Facebook from his Harvard dorm room on February 4, 2004 with roommates Dustin Moscovitz and Chris Hughes. It quickly spread to other schools around the country and eventually anyone aged 13 or older with an Internet connection was allowed to create a Facebook profile and post photos or update their friends on their status. With the astronomical growth has also come controversy. Facebook has been accused of violating privacy, facilitating online sexual predators and hate groups and simply being a colossal waste of time. It has also been touted as a force for good, serving as bridge between people and even as a tool to counter terrorism and repressive governments. Both Moscovitz and Hughes have since left the company -- Moscovitz last year to set up an Internet technology firm and Hughes to join the online campaign of then-Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Zuckerberg predicted a bright future for the Palo Alto, California-based Facebook and its 800 employees. "Building and moving quickly for five years hasn't been easy, and we aren't finished," Zuckerberg said. "The challenge motivates us to keep innovating and pushing technical boundaries to produce better ways to share information."

One challenge Facebook is yet to overcome is how to make money. US software giant Microsoft bought a 1.6 percent stake in Facebook in 2007 for 240 million dollars, valuing the social network on paper at 15 billion dollars. But Facebook, unlike other Web giants such as Amazon, eBay, Google and Yahoo!, is yet to prove how it is going to translate traffic into cash. "There's no significant visible source of revenue other than investors," said Silicon Valley analyst Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group. "There's a lot of potential there but they're still kind of living in this dotcom mindset where a business plan doesn't make a difference," he said. "And as we saw with the dotcoms, that has a very unfortunate end to it." "Google was able to figure out fairly quickly how to monetize what they were doing and they became a giant and that's the potential for Facebook but they've got to cross that chasm," Enderle said. Going public with an IPO, or initial public offering, would not appear to be an option for Facebook right now. "Doing a public offering when you have no revenue? Good luck with that -- particularly in this market," said Enderle. Advertising could be a money-spinner but "the ad model doesn't seem like it works all that well for Facebook -- though it could," said Enderle. "You know an awful lot about people, and so you would think they could do targeted ads."

"Whatever the path, Facebook doesn't have an unlimited period of time to find it," Enderle said. "They need to grow out of their childhood really fast. They can't be a five-year-old anymore," he said. "They have to grow into adulthood and adulthood means paying the bills."

EntroPay introduces prepaid Plastic MasterCard for online payments

UK virtual prepaid cards provider EntroPay has launched the EntroPay Plastic MasterCard prepaid card.

The initiative is part of the company's prepaid programme and is aimed at customers who choose to pay online for their purchases. EntroPay Plastic MasterCard can also be used for cash withdrawal at any POS or ATM location worldwide which accepts MasterCard. Along with the other services the company provides, namely the EntroPay virtual VISA card and Bank Transfer service, EntroPay Plastic MasterCard allows cardholders to make online payments, move cash in and out of their bank accounts and pay via prepaid cards at brick-and-mortar stores. EntroPay prepaid payment services enable businesses to make payments to their customers across the world. EntroPay has also announced plans to develop a business service in 2009, allowing companies to co-brand the EntroPay Plastic MasterCard with their own logo.

Jeremy Lieu Making FaceBook More Money

From Jeremy's blog a great post on squeezing more cash from FaceBookers;

"What could Facebook do to increase its digital goods revenue";

We are looking at how Facebook could increase its digital goods revenue by improving the Means, Motive and Opportunity for users to buy digital gifts. Yesterday we looked at Opportunity. Today we’ll look at Means.


Last year Facebook switched from denominating gifts in dollars to gift credits. This was a good first step as users tend to be more willing to spend virtual currencies than real money, even when they are readily interchangeable.

Currently there is only one way to buy Facebook gift credits, and that is via a credit card. But a lot of Facebook users don’t have or don’t use credit cards. They may want to be able to buy and give gifts, but they can’t do so. This is a common problem for a lot of game developers, including many game developers on Facebook. The techniques that worked for them can work for Facebook too.

As a start, Facebook could enable additional payment mechanisms, including Paypal, cell phone billing (including premium SMS) and direct debit from checking accounts. With such an international audience, additional payments mechanisms would allow many of Facebook’s international users to more easily buy gift credits.

Some Facebook users, especially those younger than 18, may not have access to any payment mechanisms other than cash. Accepting cash in envelopes for Facebook points would not scale very well. However, many game companies have been successful in getting their branded prepaid cards distributed at retail. This is one way of turning user’s cash into a payment mechanism that can be used online. Facebook has the brand awareness to do the same thing by striking deals directly with the two biggest distributors of prepaid cards, Incomm and Blackhawk. Alternatively, if they did not want to deal with retailers directly, a company like GMG Entertainment could handle it for them.

However, some users don’t have any money at all to spend on gift credits. $uperRewards and MyOfferPal have found one way to reach this market, through incentive offers. These companies allow users to trade their attention (through filling out market research surveys, applying for credit cards, getting a free trial of a service, signing up for email newsletters or other activities) for virtual currency. They take the bounty paid by the company acquiring the user, and use some of that to buy the user their virtual currency. Facebook could enable users to buy gift credits with incentive offers.

The combination of these tactics to increase Means to buy digital goods could provide an additional lift of 50-100% in digital gifts revenue.

The Importance of PrePaid Cards to Virtual Worlds & MMO's

Good article at Loki partners via Sharkjumping
Our partner GMG Entertainment today announced the roll out of Meez prepaid digital entertainment cards (and others) at top US retailer Best Buy (NYSE: BBY). This is a key move for the growth of virtual commerce at MeezNation and we're excited that Best Buy is launching dedicated card kiosks in their video game sections since it shows a strong level of commitment from a forward-thinking retailer.

So why should anyone care about old-line retail stores and physical goods when we're all selling cutting edge virtual goods? Isn't it all going to be virtual? The reason is that retail still matters a great deal, especially when addressing a somewhat unbanked audience like teenagers. We all know teens acquire an estimated $60B each year, whether it's from allowances or part-time jobs - however, they don't have an easy way to send it to their favorite virtual world or Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) game company since they don't have credit cards, are not happy borrowing them from parents, and aren't as comfortable with PayPal, even though it can be linked to a checking account. Plus, teenagers still go shopping a lot, and that retail foot traffic is incredibly important since it provides another way to reach that audience when they're not online. Finally, parents or friends are more comfortable giving gift cards these days so it's easier for a teenager to ask grandpa for a $10 Meez card for graduation vs asking for cash - it's a big Win/Win for the category. The downsides are that there are a limited number of slots available, and the retailer/partner margin takes a significant part of the overall revenue, but since we're selling virtual goods with high margins, we believe the increase in revenue is worth the transactional cost.

On the retailer side, cards are perfect merchandise since they deliver relatively high value to floor space ratios, offer margins somewhat close to other physical products, and since there is little shrinkage/theft since the card is not worth anything unless activated at the register. Given the decline of recorded music sales and the flattening of DVD sales, this can be a nice win for retailers who really focus on the digital entertainment category - some of them will soon start to actually integrate their brands and links into these worlds so that users can move back and forth between virtual and physical spaces. Best Buy was a key driver of Rhapsody's success when I was running it 5 years ago, and the company is always looking at next wave of retail trends to make sure it stays relevant in an increasingly digital world.

This plan doesn't mean just throwing the cards next to the Macy's and TGI Friday's gift cards, as I have seen at other stores since they will get lost in the increasing blizzard of cards, many of which are aimed at different demographics than entertainment cards. That's why we're excited about GMG's efforts to work with Best Buy to launch a specialized area of the video game section in Best Buy stores, and to provide an array of entertainment cards, from hard core MMO's to broader virtual world offerings like Meez. When I asked about the cards this weekend at the Columbia, Maryland store, the employee knew exactly where it was, and took me directly to it. You can see if Meez cards at your local BB store here.

There will come a time when all transactions are done by cell phone or some other equally high tech method, but for the foreseeable future, retail placement and the resulting revenue will be a key driver for successful digital entertainment brands, and leading retailers will benefit by offering these options to their customers.

Top Money Making MMO Games of 2008

Over at GigaOM they have put together a great list of the top 10 money making MMO games of 2008.

1. World of Warcraft, launched 2004
Genre/Platform: Western MMORPG; client install with 3D graphics
Revenue sources: Monthly subscription, retails sales, prepaid cards (in Asia)
DFC estimated 2008 revenue: $500 million-plus

2. Fantasy Westward Journey, launched 2004
Genre/Platform: Asian MMORPG, client install with 2.5D graphics
Revenue sources: Prepaid cards
DFC estimated 2008 revenue: $150-$500 million

3. Maple Story, launched 2003
Genre/Platform: Asian MMORPG for kids, client install with 2D graphics
Revenue sources: Microtransactions, prepaid cards, international licensing
DFC estimated 2008 revenue: $150-$500 million

4. Shanda (company, includes Legend of Mir and World of Legend series), launched 2003
Genre/Platform: Asian MMORPG, client install with 2.5 graphics
Revenue sources: Prepaid cards, virtual item sales, freemium subscriptions
DFC estimated 2008 revenue: $150-$500 million

5. Lineage I and Lineage II , launched 1998 and 2003
Genre/Platform: Asian MMORPG, client install with 2.5 graphics (Lineage) and 3D graphics (Lineage II)
Revenue sources: Subscription, prepaid cards
DFC estimated 2008 revenue: $150-$500 million

6. Runescape
Genre/Platform: Western MMORPG for kids, web-based with 2.5D graphics
Revenue sources: Premium subscription, prepaid cards, real-world advertising
DFC estimated 2008 revenue: $50-$150 million

7. Club Penguin, launched 2006
Genre/Platform: Virtual world for kids, web-based 2.5D graphics
Revenue sources: Premium subscriptions, prepaid game cards
DFC estimated 2008 revenue: $50-$150 million

8. Lord of the Ring Online
Genre/Platform: Western MMORPG, client install with 3D graphics
Revenue sources: Subscription, retail sales
DFC estimated 2008 revenue: $50-$150 million

9. Warhammer Online
Genre/Platform: Western MMORPG, client install with 3D graphics
Revenue sources: Subscription, retail sales
DFC estimated 2008 revenue: $50-$150 million

10. Age of Conan
Genre/Platform: Western MMORPG, client install with 3D graphics
Revenue sources: Subscription, retail sales
DFC estimated 2008 revenue: $50-$150 million

Mobile Payments Getting Traction On Social Networks, But Fees Are Sky High

Old news for Europeans and Asians but good info for our North American readers... Users are increasingly choosing dead simple SMS mobile payments for micro-transactions on social network applications and gaming sites (it fills the void while they wait for more direct action), but super-high transaction fees are limiting growth. The problem is that legacy transactions - specifically scams that give users a “free” ring tone with the fine print mentioning a monthly charge as high as $20 - have brought in so much cash to the carriers that they’ve gotten used to taking 50% or more of the total payment in fees. For the market to grow to encompass legitimate transactions, those fees have to drop dramatically. For that to happen, the social networks need to get involved directly in carrier negotiations.

Two companies, both headquartered in Europe, are already targeting mobile payments for apps - Mobillcash(UK) and Zong (Switzerland). When you buy a virtual shotgun on Mobwars, for example (and they are selling a lot of them, up to $1 million per month) you have to pay real cash. You can choose to pay via a number of services (Facebook doesn’t offer a direct payment solution yet), including either Mobillcash or Zong.

If you choose Zong, you enter your phone number on the site, get a text message with a four digit code, enter the code on the site and you’re done. It’s by far the easiest way to charge a transaction online outside of Amazon one-click. Zong’s fees aren’t transparent, but Mobillcash’s are. Mobillcash has a clunkier interface (you have to choose your carrier and go through extra steps), but they show what their fees are because to get, say, $1 into the Facebook app you have to pay $1.50 on most carriers. That implies a 33% transaction cost, almost all of which goes to the carrier. Many of Mobillcash’s payments are way beyond 33%. Zong says they pay an average of a 40% transaction fee to U.S. carriers. Those transaction fees are severely limiting the size of the market. Lots of merchants and application developers would love to take mobile payments, but paying 40% or more of the transaction to the carriers is a non-starter.

Zong argues that the fees are actually much lower than they seem because conversion rates (when chance that money will change hands once a payment button is pressed) are more than 50%. If that seems low, compare it to PayPal conversion rates that are reported to be a fraction of that. Regardless, though, any merchant selling an item with actual marginal cost (virtual items are by definition free to produce, so higher payment fees can be tolerated) aren’t going to allow mobile payments via SMS. If the carriers were to lower those fees (or if they were forced to by market forces or the government), a very rich ecosystem could blossom, and the carriers would get the majority of the value created.

What Happens If Carriers Ignore the Opportunity

Chances are the carriers won’t lower their exorbitant payment fees anytime soon. What I’m guessing will happen is that services like Zong and MobillCash, as they add valuable users who like to pay via SMS, will simply offer to move those users to credit card payments. Users still pay by just entering in their phone number and then typing in a 4 digit code they receive via SMS, but the charge would go to their credit card instead of their phone. The difference in fees is so large that customers can be offered a very large incentive to simply store their credit card and use that instead of having the charge go to their phone bill. And checking out is still much, much simpler than typing in your name, address and credit card details.

Hackers Rob RBS WorldPay!


RBS WorldPay lost $9 million during 30-minute system breach

The US payments processing system of Royal Bank of Scotland Group, RBS WorldPay, in just half of an hour period during a global ATM robbery, involved 100 cloned cards in 49 cities, around the world supposedly lost $9 million. First RBS reported in a press release, as issued during the busy pre-Christmas season on 23 December default in its computer systems and the fraudulent use of 100 cards.

Though only 100 cloned cards were used, the hackers managed to withdraw up to $9 million by lifting the daily withdrawal limits on each card, so that they could be used over and over again. The bank confirmed that the personal information of 1.5 million pre-paid cardholders had been exposed as its computer system had been incorrectly accessed in November by an unauthorized party. The true extent of the fraud has been presented in a FBI law enforcement officials report on New York Fox 5, where they reported the channel that a network of cashiers was used to withdraw money from 130 different ATM machines in 49 cities around the world after the midnight on 8 November. Actually FBI does not suspect and has not made any arrests in this robbery. But class-action lawsuit against RBS WorldPay has been filed for supposedly failing to protect personal information.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I'minlikewithyou Hires New CEO, Changing Names.

PG just got this good news. Congrats Dan!:

Balloono.jpgNYC-based online gaming startup I'minlikewithyou, founded and led until now by media-friendly 28-year-old Charles Forman, is getting some more adult supervision.

The company plans to announce today that it's hired Dan Porter as its chief executive. Forman, a talented game designer and programmer, will now focus on the company's aggressive plans to roll out 12 to 24 new games this year. Porter last worked at Virgin, where he was SVP of Corporate Development, leading the company's venture investments and starting new companies. Before that, he worked for BMG Direct, part of the Bertelsmann conglomerate, and worked at startups -- for instance, he sold TicketWeb to Ticketmaster-Citysearch for $35.2 million in 2000. His challenge: Turning I'minlikewithyou from a buzzy game site with no revenue into a real business.

How will that happen? The company will soon roll out premium "star" accounts, its first revenue generator. It also plans to sell in-game virtual goods, a market that's been a money-maker for some gaming companies, including World Of Warcraft owner Blizzard Entertainment. As far as traffic goes, Porter says the site attracted somewhere between 500,000 and 1 million unique visitors last month, and that uniques are growing 20% a month. Players spent more than 50 million minutes on the site last month, suggesting that the average visitor played between 50-100 minutes during January. Not bad. Porter will also handle operations, hiring, and raising money. Last summer, the company raised $1.5 million from Spark Capital, NYC's Betaworks, and angels like Ron Conway and Netscape founder Marc Andreessen. I'minlikewithyou will also be changing its name soon, Forman recently teased on the company's blog. Porter declined to comment on the timing or the new name.

Best Virtual World & Payment System Devs

If you need virtual world development done, including payment systems and internal billing systems integrated and launched, Adminotech of Oulu Finland is your best choice They can cover all your virtual world / virtual platform development and management needs like;

1. technical / customer support (multi language not currently offered in EU)
2. server infra and hosting
3. payment network design, integration, deployment and management
4. technical operations
5. programming / development

In the picture above Ryan McDougall now senior software developer with RealXtend, Tomi Kujanpää (LudoCraft/realXtend Art Director & Avatar Specialist), Hannu Hollström (ADMINO technologies) have a drink with Gene Yoon (Ginsu Linden), VP of Business Affairs, Linden Lab at The Metaverse Mixer Meetup at the Hotel Figueroa.

Contact Hannu CEO or his brother Tommi CTO at

Hannu Hollström
+358 50 574 2200

Tommi Hollström
+358 40 747 8886

Cheers! Tell 'em PG sent you. PG

Payment Pages Done Wrong - Case Webkinz eStore

Following our hugely successful post on payment pages done right, PG and Team are please to present its blog post counterpart "Payment Pages Done Wrong". First case of how to mess it up is Webkinz eStore. The otherwise brilliant and successful virtual world brainchild of secretive Canadian retail genius Howard Ganz

With 60 country coverage the WebKinz eStore looks impressive. But with pricing only in USD (no EURO even!) and payment methods are only the 3 major credit cards plus lag and long purchasing processes makes Webkinz eStore an example of how not to sell virtual goods. PG will not even mention the outrageously expensive price points.

Check it out yourself here:

"Virtual item feature codes purchased through eStore can only be used on an active Webkinz World account and are to be redeemed at the Code Shop. Pet secret codes are to be used at the Adoption Center on Webkinz World. All codes are unique and can only be used once.

All prices are in US dollars only. There are no refunds or exchanges for Webkinz and Lil'Kinz pets, virtual items and virtual pets. Webkinz and Lil'Kinz pets are available for purchase through eStore to those residing outside of the US/Canada.

A $5 dollar minimum order (before taxes) is required to make purchases of virtual items and virtual pets through eStore. A minimum order of three pets is required when purchasing Webkinz Plush Pets and/or Lil'Kinz Plush Pets through eStore.
Accepted Credit Cards:

* Visa
* MasterCard

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Maktoob's Good News

PG was delighted to receive this news from his good friends at Maktoob about their record numbers. Congrats Ahmed and Team!

"Dear Colleagues and Partners,

I wanted to share with you all some big news, not just for, but for our whole industry.

ABC Electronic has just completed our third Web audience audit and has certified our monthly audience traffic at 14.7 million unique visitors who viewed 323 million page impressions in the month of November 2008 you can view and download the certificate at:\

The fact that over 14.7 million people have visited our portal is a testament to the coming of age of digital media in our region. The days when a tiny slice of the total population in the Arab world had access to the Internet are long gone. With over 45 million consumers now using the Internet in our region as a major source of news, entertainment, and communication, stale arguments of the time not being right for a substantial shift in advertising spend towards digital no longer hold water.

And at a time when we are all having to be much more judicious in spending our precious advertising dollars, the Internet provides the only way to combine quality brand engagement with pin-point targeting and measurability to ensure maximum value and effectiveness.

With your help and support, has come a long way: An audience of 14.7 million, triple-digit revenue growth, 253 employees in 6 cities throughout the Arab world dedicated to audience growth and advertiser success.

But the exciting part is – we’re just getting started!

We will never forget that our success is intrinsically tied to yours. As always, my colleagues and I are just an email or phone call away – I look forward to working with you as we climb new heights together in 2009.

Peace and Success,

Ahmed Nassef
Vice-President, Maktoob Group
General Manager,

Mobile (Dubai): +971.50.4511279
Skype: anassef6301

PG told you there were (and still are) too many Linden VP's ...

Yes, PG called it.

... But this will not be the only one. So who is next?

"VP Robin Harper Leaving Linden Lab" Robin Harper, Vice President of Marketing and Community Development, announced on the Linden blog last night that she would be leaving Linden Lab. "I’m planning to take some time to explore a few different avenues as I decide where, when and what the next chapter of my life will entail," wrote Harper. "Watching the growth of Second Life from the early beginnings in Lindenworld to the unbelievably diverse, creative, vibrant community that exists today has been the highlight of my career. The people who built the world of Second Life are fantastic pioneers and I’m so proud to have been part of the genesis of this amazing experience."

RocketOn Launches Beta with, Hypster, Online Flash Games, Hotspot, faceDub and Boosh Magazine

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- February 2009 -- RocketOn, Inc., a venture-funded startup located in South San Francisco, is rolling out its virtual world platform by embedding virtual worlds on partner sites. RocketOn's partners range from comedy, music and game sites to community networking sites and college magazines. "Our goal", says Bryan Suchenski, partner manager, "is to build social interaction and community on our partners' websites, thereby weaving a virtual environment into the very fabric of the Web." RocketOn has built a platform for easily embedding virtual worlds into partner sites, allowing their users to interact in real-time with one another. Every partner site is part of the overall community, and with the click of a button, users can take their avatars anywhere they like on the site.

"Imagine what it would be like if you could join a virtual world on your favorite site and interact with everyone on that site," says Steven Hoffman, CEO of RocketOn. "And what if you could also take your same avatar to any other website and meet people there?" The result is a parallel virtual world that spans the entire Internet, where users rocket through cyberspace with their avatars and interact with virtual environments on any site they choose. "What caught our attention about RocketOn is the potential for a new type of real-time social interaction on our site," says Cahit Onur, CEO of Online Flash Games. "We felt this would help build customer loyalty and extend our brand into the virtual world space. We're happy to be working with RocketOn and are open minded about new projects and ideas." Through these six partnerships, RocketOn should be exposed to over 2 million more users. Additional partnerships will be announced in the near future.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Great Payment System Preso

Payment Pages Done Right - Case PlayRay

Payment page design is an art. Not a science. No wonder so many get this supremely important part of payment WRONG! So for all his dear readers, fans and even those wanna-be paymentguys and paymentgals bandwaggoning off his industry leading blog, PG will start listing some examples of proper payment page design. PG sincerely hopes this helps you get your payment pages looking good and making money. Check out Contact Paymentguy if you want to know how to make your payment pages and systems churn cash and produce profits. Please rest assured, there is absolutely no COST or binding legal obligation required to simply GMAIL PG and his team of Payment Guys and Girl and ask a few questions? So what have you got to lose - -?

Where oh where will Asmo go?

Still not sure where Asmo Halinen, Founder and brains behind innovative Finnish Playray ( will pursue new challenges, but something is up according to his blog; "Besides starting as a CEO in a new company in January, I’ve also joined / going to join some other companies as an advisor or a board member. The first two of these companies are Kokumi Oy, company behind, the #1 restaurant review service in Finland, and Oy Grey Area Ab. Grey Area defines its self as a “mash-up company exploring the grey area between agile software development and creative thought” - and that’s pretty much all I can reveal at this stage... I’m really pleased and enthusiastic about working with these two companies and great people behind them. There’s something else in the pipeline on this area as well, but more about it later." Good luck!

Kinda crappy name but ...

... cool innovative mobile virtual world MoiPal starts offering branded virtual goods and mobile payments in 2009 accoring to this Virtual Worlds News Interview of MoiPal (hell, even Cell Buddy is a better name ;) Founder Joakim Achren

Gameforge announces 10% discount for cashU users

CashU is part of the Maktoob Group ( and is an excellent payment option for those wanted to enter the Gulf Region;

"Gameforge, the world's largest independent provider of browser and client-based online games has announced an introductory 10% discount on four new Arabic games for cashU users. The four Arabic games - Ikariam, Battleknight, Bitefight, and Gladiatus are free to play, and only require a one-time registration with a valid e-mail address. Users can use cashU as a payment method to purchase add-ons and premium game features to gain small advantages over rivals in the game.

'We are very excited to partner with Gameforge, who have a successful business model and a large portfolio of games - the localized versions of their games should receive plenty of interest from users in the Middle East.' said Martin Waldenstrom, General Manager, cashU. 'cashU has always been the preferred payment method for young gamers and teenagers in the Middle East, we look forward to seeing Arabic versions for the rest of their games.' he added.