August 5, 2008, 12:00 AM

Mobile content buyers can phone it in to Facebook friends

M-commerce platform builder Volantis is bringing together the emerging technologies of m-commerce and social networking to enable consumers to spread the word about mobile digital content.

Katie Evans

Managing Editor, International Research

Most wireless telecommunications carriers offer m-commerce stores through their portals, enabling mobile phone users to shop and purchase digital content like ringtones, wallpapers and videos. A challenge for carriers is getting users to the portals-the portals typically are featured prominently in a list of applications, but many mobile phone users are not portal shoppers.

M-commerce technology firm Volantis is tapping into the power of social networking with a tool designed to help wireless carriers virally spread the word about products offered through their portals. The company next month will introduce functionality for its Storefront m-commerce platform that will enable mobile phone users who buy digital content from their wireless carriers to automatically have purchases listed on their Facebook pages. Once listed, consumers can write product reviews that appear in their news-feeds and mini-feeds on Facebook, which are seen by their Facebook friends.

To enable the system, mobile phone users will select a Facebook option in their mobile phone user profile. Then they download the Volantis Facebook application to their page. When a purchase is made, the mobile phone automatically sends a post to the Facebook page, where the consumer can opt whether to include it in their feeds.

Consumers are not focused solely on their mobile devices when it comes to finding digital content-they’re scouring the Internet for information, says Dave Roberts, business development and channel manager at Volantis.

“People are spending a lot of time on social networks sharing their experiences and recommendations,” Roberts says. “We’re trying to help mobile operators extend the reach of their portals to social networks, where their products can gain a great deal of exposure. People have to make an effort to go to a mobile operator’s portal and search. Social networks enable easy product discovery through automatic, online word-of-mouth.”

Volantis is in discussions with a few U.S. wireless carriers, including AT&T; and T-Mobile, that use its Storefront m-commerce platform about adding the Facebook functionality.

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