Mobile Market: Effective Billing

Q. Boyer

With mobile browsing, viewing and purchasing of adult content continuing to rise, it is ever more important for adult businesses to optimize their mobile presence. While this optimization must, of course, include design and navigation considerations, effective content delivery and quality content, establishing an effective billing solution is probably the single most mission-critical step toward success in the mobile market; it does not matter how outstanding your mobile site is if your customers cannot conveniently and easily purchase what you are trying to sell.

Of course, within the U.S. market, mobile billing for adult content is hampered by carrier policies that are far more restrictive than in many other regional markets. Mitch Farber, the CEO of NETbilling, a California-based processor that handles a high volume of purchases of mobile content, both domestic and foreign, told XBIZ that given the constraints on mobile adult content purchasing in the U.S., it is imperative that American companies do everything they can to ease the process of credit card-based mobile purchases.

Equally important to having a well-optimized mobile billing solution is ensuring that the mobile billing option is immediately visible to your potential customers. -Daniela Ganick, iTelebill.

“Merchants must rely on credit card billing primarily for U.S. customer purchases because SMS (“short message service”) billing is not available in the U.S. for adult content though the phone carriers,” Farber said. “For this reason, once the customer enters information for the first time, it is important to simplify the re-buy process to allow the customer to quickly make a purchase. One-click integrations are extremely useful for this purpose and many payment providers such as NETbilling offer these options for easy implementation.”

In less restrictive billing environments, mobile payments are quick, convenient, and increasingly becoming a part of daily life for consumers who now use their mobile devices for virtually everything they once did on a desktop computer.

“The main advantage of mobile payment is that it can be done everywhere,” observed Gerald Tachner, CEO of DIMOCO, an Austrian processor that maintains offices in 10 European countries. Tachner added that the ease and increasing popularity of using mobile devices to make purchases is good news for merchants going forward, due to statistics that show “a market potential of 5 billion mobile phone users” in the years ahead.

Daniela Ganick, Senior Account Manager for iTelebill, told XBIZ that equally important to having a well-optimized mobile billing solution is ensuring that the mobile billing option is immediately visible to your potential customers.

“If a company is using mobile payments, it is important to display it with all their other solutions, so the customer that comes onto the payment page has a perfect overview of how he can pay without having to search for it,” Ganick said. She added that for mobile-specific sites, where markets that permit SMS billing for adult content are concerned, “it is recommended to display phone payments as the first option, as it is much easier to start a payment process by entering your phone number than having to dig up a credit card and go through entering all those details.”

Tachner concurred with Ganick, noting that in addition to the convenience factor, “One of the main advantages of mobile payment is the smooth and integrated flow.”

“Users can stay on their handsets without changing media or any other disruption,” Tachner said. “Another important aspect of mobile payment is that users don’t need to type in any personal, secure data.”

Where the U.S. market is concerned, Farber reiterated the importance of doing everything possible to reduce the hassle of making credit card purchases, including using “fast and efficient payment forms that display beautifully in all smartphone browsers, even at slow speeds.”

“Having limited real estate to display and collect information means input fields on the forms must be properly formatted,” Farber said. “Regular and landscape page orientation must be considered when list selections and pull down menus take place.”

Despite the rapidly expanding mobile user base present in the market, many adult companies still have not committed to establishing a strong mobile presence, or are merely dabbling in mobile operations at this point, leading to some common mistakes observed by mobile payment processors. Among those mistakes, according to Tachner, is not considering mobile payment as an additional option for sites and products that themselves may not be optimized for mobile delivery.

“Mobile is a new media channel and a new opportunity for companies in the adult entertainment business,” Tachner said. “On the one hand, it is certainly necessary to get mobile content, but on the other hand, that is precisely the opportunity to reach a new target group and earn more revenue. No matter if we are talking about content on the classic or on the mobile web, mobile payment can be combined for both kinds of digital content.”

Farber said that one error he has observed in the adult mobile market actually stems from good intent: misguided attempts to prevent fraud.

“Merchants placing high fraud control on mobile join pages often results in higher decline ratios because of IP tracking issues, GEO lookups in the fraud tools and just the fact the on mobile devices, often typos are made by the user, causing input to be fraud analyzed and then declined,” Farber said.

Farber also advocated the practice of companies linking their mobile sites to their traditional sites, and vice versa, in a high-profile way.

“Provide a clear link from your mobile sites to your full site for those users who need special features that are found only on the full site,” Farber said. “Offer a clear and large button for users who don’t want to see the mobile version which is easily configured using a Cascading Style Sheet (CSS). Take advantage of iOS Webkit (CSS & HTML5) properties to make pages feel fast and smooth like native apps rather than a hosted page. Our most successful merchants are those that have seamlessly integrated their mobile and full site properties to create a complete user experience.”

Rounding out his own advice to adult mobile merchants, DIMOCO’s Tachner emphasized a point that is as simple as it is salient: “Find a trustworthy, reliable and experienced mobile payment partner.”


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