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GetJar ditches white label store as CEO Ilja Laurs claims carriers have 'lost the consumer'

GetJar ditches white label store as CEO Ilja Laurs claims carriers have 'lost the consumer'
GetJar's white label marketplace was billed as a "quick and easy" means for carriers to link up with their consumer base when it was launched at the start of 2010.

Unveiled by CEO Ilja Laurs, the service's debut was apparently a response to what was seen as increasing demand for operators to deliver apps to their customers.

Little over a year later, GetJar is calling time on its white label business however.

Money matters

The company reports that, to all intents and purposes, it's walking away from the service because operators have no real connection with their own userbase.

They've become 'dumb pipes'.

"They don't really own their traffic," Laurs said in an interview with Connected Planet.

"Essentially their customers are ignoring them. Even though a carrier might have 50 million users, they might be able to get only 1 percent to their deck. That's of very little use to us."

In comparison with GetJar's direct-to-consumer marketplace, the white label business is no money maker.

"Once we realised this wasn’t a fast way to scale, we gave up on it," added Laurs.

"We still have those deals in place, but we don’t promote the opportunity at all anymore. We learned that it would take 1,000 carrier deals to double our profits. The return on investment is way less than our direct-to-consumer effort."

Carrier crash

The question of what role carriers – and, specifically, their portals – have to play in a market where the agenda is increasingly set by platform holders is one currently up for debate.

"In some cases, the download portals have remained more or less unchanged since the early days of mobile gaming at the beginning of the century," HandyGames CEO Christopher Kassulke said of carrier branded marketplaces in a guest opinion piece on PocketGamer.biz.

"In other cases, the purchasing process is burdened with complex and arcane payment systems that aren't particularly user-friendly.

"Most importantly, the quality of the offered games and apps is often lacking, to the point where there is a distinct disconnect between the network operator's brand image and the quality of its download portal."

Kassulke believes operator portals can never hope to compete when it comes to sheer number of apps. Instead, they should try and outperform the likes of the App Store and Android Market when it comes to quality especially in terms of free games that can then be upsold.

"Making users feel the download portal provides good guidance when it comes to quality content is an important factor in turning users into returning customers," he argued.

[source: Connected Planet]

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.

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