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Mobile Made Easy

Mobile Made Easy

January 11, 2010
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" Mobile redirect scripts come in a variety of forms. "

By now, you've heard the word: the adult mobile market has taken off — finally! As affiliate programs that have taken the mobile plunge trumpet the continued growth and success of their mobile efforts, the question on the minds of most webmasters is probably "how do I get a slice of that?"

While a full commitment to the mobile market can be a major undertaking and involves conquering a significant learning curve, establishing a small foothold in the market is actually quite easily and quickly accomplished, thanks to the whitelabel solutions offered by several mobile-focused affiliate programs, including my employer, TopBucks Mobile. (The information provided below is based on how TopBucks Mobile has structured things; other affiliate programs will offer similar, but not identical, tools and services.)

Both as a function of good webmaster support and the increasingly intense competition for webmasters and their mobile traffic, affiliate program operators generally make getting set up with a mobile whitelabel as simple as signing up for their program and requesting one. At TopBucks Mobile, once your request has been entered, our turnaround time on fulfilling the request is typically 2-3 business days, depending on the volume of similar requests we're fulfilling on behalf of other webmasters/clients at the time.

At the discretion of the webmaster, TopBucks Mobile offers a choice of setting up the whitelabel as a subdomain (mobile.yoursite.com) or on a .mobi domain (yoursite.mobi). By default, the content of our whitelabels is drawn from our flagship mobile sites (iPinkVisualPass.com for straight and iMaleSpectrumPass.com for gay) or we can create a niche-specific whitelabel for any of the numerous niche areas in which we offer content/sites.

Once your whitelabel is set up, the question then becomes "where do I get some mobile traffic for this sucker?" Since most webmasters typically haven't done much targeting of the mobile users to this point in their promotional efforts, the mobile traffic they receive is likely to be limited to the visitors who are using mobile devices to surf standard (or "fixed") websites. Industry-wide, traffic from mobile devices typically accounts for 2-5 percent of fixed website traffic. This may not sound like much at first blush, but if your sites receive even 5,000 clicks a day, two percent of that sum adds up very quickly, and within a matter of several weeks, you're talking about thousands of clicks essentially squandered if you spend that time without a mobile solution in place.

The fastest and easiest means to direct mobile visitors to a mobile-optimized site is to use a "mobile redirect script." As the name suggests, a mobile redirect script automatically detects mobile browsers that hit a fixed website, and automatically redirects that mobile traffic to a URL of the webmaster's choosing. Such scripts allow webmasters to more effectively target mobile users without affecting the experience of their PC-based customers.

Mobile redirect scripts come in a variety of forms. At TopBucks Mobile, we offer three varieties: PHP, JavaScript and htaccess. All three are very easy to edit and deploy, and provide webmasters with a low effort means to make more effective use of the mobile traffic their sites draw, and to start monetizing mobile traffic with minimal up front investment.

While the term mobile redirect script might sound intimidating to the uninitiated, even an inexperienced webmaster could likely figure out at a glance what needs to be altered in the PHP version of the mobile redirect script that TopBucks Mobile offers in order to prepare it for deployment. At the top of the script there are two URLs listed, appearing next to tags called $REGULAR_URL and $MOBILE_URL. The 'regular' URL determines the page that non-mobile traffic will be delivered to, while the 'mobile' URL determines where the script will direct mobile browsers. Once webmasters edit the two URLs as needed, they then simply upload the script and link to it, or make the script their site's index page and list their site's first page of content as the "regular" URL in the script.

Using the JavaScript version of the mobile redirect script is similarly uncomplicated. The JavaScript version has only one URL that needs to be edited, which appears in the script next to a tag called MOBILE_URL. Once properly edited to include the correct URL, the script can then be used on any webpage where the webmaster would like to filter out mobile traffic.

The language in the htaccess version of the redirect script is a little different, but the principle and function is the same. In the htaccess version, the mobile URL appears as part of a "RewriteRule," but the editing action is the same as with the PHP or JavaScript version; webmasters merely need to edit the URL that appears in the script by default to reflect the URL they want to deliver their mobile traffic. Some webmasters may not be able to make use of the htaccess version (for instance, if the server the site is hosted on does not have ModRewrite installed). In that case, using the PHP or JavaScript versions of the script is the way to go.

One concern expressed by many webmasters is that they do not like the idea of automatically redirecting their mobile visitors to a different site than the one they were attempting to visit based solely on the desire to better target the average mobile user by sending them to a mobile-optimized site. What if they specifically want to go to your standard site, and don't mind if it isn't perfectly optimized for their device?

To address this issue, we recommend that webmasters add a step to the process, and direct their mobile traffic to a page that offers the user a choice: continue to on to the standard site they were headed towards, or opt to be delivered to a mobile-optimized site. While it does add another click to the equation, this approach has the benefit of putting the choice in the user's hands, and avoids confusing them by delivering them somewhere other than where they expected to arrive, without notice.

While whitelabel and redirect solutions don't address the needs of content studios and producers who want to distribute their content directly to mobile consumers, they represent an excellent means for adult webmasters to establish some manner of presence in the mobile market. It also allows webmasters to gauge whether a more in-depth commitment to the mobile sector is in their best interest, in much the same way that whitelabel VOD theaters and whitelabel live cam selections allow webmasters to capitalize on those markets without fully investing in developing products and infrastructure to serve those markets.


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