5 reasons why you *can* monetize HTML5 mobile apps
We welcome vigorous, honest and respectful debate about the issues most important to us. In this spirit we'd like to respond to Mashable's recent post, "5 Reasons HTML5 Apps are Hard to Monetize". (This was a guest post by Edith Yeung, head of marketing at Dolphin Browser, and partner at RightVentures.)
Yeung starts off recognizing that there are some great HTML5 apps out there and that this emerging standard is promising. Having said that, she lists five reasons why, in her opinion, HTML5 apps remain difficult to monetize. They are: (1) Discovery is Difficult, (2) Support is Limited, (3) Lack of Ad Networks, (4) No Standard HTML5 Payment Framework and, finally, (5) Hesitant Consumer Behavior.
I'd like to address the points one by one.
(1) Discovery: AppsFuel is one of the first new HTML5 mobile app marketplaces to be launched, but the Mozilla Marketplace that she mentions has not yet been publicly launched. Admittedly, we are in the initial stages, but there is no reasons to believe that discovery will be the "huge" problem that Yeung posits because HTML5 apps, by their very nature are search engine friendly -- on the open web!
(2) Support: This market is changing at the speed of light. The concept of responsive design is spreading like wildfire and more and more developers are hard at work actually solving compatibility problems day by day. You can see the impressive results in this HTML5 gallery. Or try this fun demo in your browser... resize your browser window and watch the page dynamically adapt!
The "build-once, deploy-everywhere ideal" is actually achievable right now. You just need to pay close attention to your goals and be smart about your implementation. It is a development problem akin to any other development problem, just as common in native apps as in HTML5 apps.
(3) Ad Networks: HTML5 mobile apps are actually websites adapted to mobile screens. In many cases, it will be pretty straightforward to integrate current ad servers and ad networks with HTML5 delivery.
Hearst’s digital media division oversees 28 Web sites and 14 mobile sites for brands magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Seventeen and Good Housekeeping, and they have just announced the creation their ad exchange, the Hearst Audience Exchange. Crisp Media, Celtra AdCreator and others have developed HTML5 ad delivery platforms.
With many high traffic publishers developing their properties to support HTML5, it's not going to take very long for the existing ad networks to get on board.
(4) HTML5 Payment Framework: At AppsFuel we focus on mobile apps. And what to all active mobile devices have in common? The user has a billing relationship with his or her mobile carrier! Since all major carriers are now offering or developing API's and SDK's to access their direct billing functionalities, it seems clear that the payment framework is getting ready for prime time.
As for AppsFuel, we will make it even easier for our developer community. In September, we will announce our on-stop-shop carrier billing solution for all of the HTML5 mobile apps in the AppsFuel Marketplace.
(5) Consumer Behavior: People already understand how HTML5 mobile apps work. Just point your mobile browser to a URL Users do not really care about whether their apps are native or HTML5. It's a non-issue. In any case, AppsFuel makes it as simple as 1-2-3 to add the icon of an HTML5 app to the devices home screen.
With media companies such as Forbes, BBC, the Boston Globe and the Financial Times using HTML5 to power their sites, the line between website and mobile app is quickly beginning to disappear and mainstream users will have little trouble feeling comfortable in this environment.
I think that Ms. Yeung brought up some valid points, but they are more accurate about yesterday than about today and tomorrow!
If you are an apps developer, and any of this debate stirred your curiosity, please take a minute to visit our developer sign up page to learn more about how HTML5 apps and AppsFuel can help you to build your business.
GOOD NEWS: Our billing API is ready for testing. If you're a developer interested in beta testing this powerful monetization API, please email your request to: team-at-appsfuel-dot-com.