In its second-largest acquisition, Amazon buys the company for $970 million.
Site Builder, from Volantis Systems, enables retailers to create mobile web sites. Mobile sites can be just for marketing or fully transactional, including links to social networks and RSS feeds.
Volantis Systems Ltd. is joining the small but growing list of companies offering services that build mobile web sites.
On Jan. 9, the mobile technology company says it will debut Site Builder. Retailers will be able to use Site Builder to create a mobile marketing site, without transactional capability, or a full-blown m-commerce site, which can conduct transactions using PayPal and other Internet payment services. Retailers follow instructions from Site Builder, telling it which content to take from their e-commerce sites to include in their m-commerce sites.
To begin using Site Builder, retailers must first register a domain and URL with an Internet registration service. A mobile URL, for example, could be m.Retailer.com or Retailer.mobi. They then include the URL during the site-building process.
The technology vendor already offers a free service, dubbed Ubik.com, that enables companies or individuals to build mobile sites hosted by Volantis Systems. However, these sites are branded with Ubik.com titles and logos. Site Builder enables retailers to brand and host their own mobile sites. It also enables links to social networks and RSS feeds.
“The main benefit of using a service like this is saving time and cost. Most organizations don’t, or can’t in some cases, spend time creating mobile web sites,” says David Roberts, director of business development and alliances at Volantis Systems. “One of the key differences between mobile and regular sites is diversity of devices. The PC web is usable by pretty much everyone because most browsers are pretty similar, and screen size is more or less the same and you of course have a keyboard and a mouse. With mobile, you need to have something to handle the differences.”
Volantis, like other mobile site builders, maintains a vast database of mobile phone makers and models that is used to tailor the size and orientation of mobile sites for individual mobile devices. For example, a mobile site will be formatted slightly different for an iPhone versus a BlackBerry.
“Site Builder handles all this for companies. If they don’t have the ability to develop in house and handle all these differences, the service is a quick and easy way to build so they can focus on their business rather than focus on device diversity,” Roberts says.
More than 2,000 companies and individuals have used Ubik.com to date, Volantis Systems says. Retail organizations that have used the free service include My Princess Closet, Upholstery Fabrics and 16th Street Area Shopping.