MochiAds is a branch of the MochiMedia company that allows game developers to put ads into their games. I’ve talked to Ada Chen over at MochiMedia, and she was able to to tell us a bit more about the company in an interview.
1. Can you tell me a little bit about the founding of MochiAds?
To start off, I’ll give some background on the company Mochi Media. MochiAds is one of the products offered by Mochi Media, a company created in 2005 by our founders Jameson Hsu and Bob Ippolito. They started off initially by building MochiBot, an analytics tool which solves the problem of allowing Flash developers see how many people are using their content, and in addition what sites the content spreads to. Before this, a developer could only track the traffic to their page, but couldn’t see the statistics if someone took their file and stuck it on their site. MochiBot helped people figure that out. This was in a time when most developers made money off of their content by putting ads on their site and trying to drive traffic to it. With analytics, they could now see when people took their content and put it elsewhere.
MochiAds came about after MochiBot, to solve the second part of the problem. While MochiBot allowed developers to see where their content is, MochiAds was the first product to allow them to actually profit from their games spreading across the Internet beyond simply monetizing their site. This is because the ads follow the games wherever they go. The product in many ways has been game-changing. A few years ago developers used to try to keep their games on their site, now they are all trying to figure out how to get their games distributed everywhere!
2. Was it hard to spread the word about MochiAds when the site was first founded?
It wasn’t too hard because we kept the number of users small initially, and demanded outstripped supply. MochiAds was in private beta for almost a year. The outcome though is that we have a very robust system that has been thought out :) During the beta phase, we didn’t really have any problems getting developers into our system since we were the first to offer this kind of technology, and we were able to pull in users from MochiBot which had already been years in the making.
3. What makes MochiAds different from other in-game ad sites?
The first thing that makes us different is our focus on developers. I know that’s kind of a strange thing to say up front, but as an ad network we focus on the people who are actually creating the content. Our tools are crafted with them in mind. This shows in that developers have a ton of flexibility have within the system to do things like domain-filter ads from specific sites, add leaderboards, get free bandwidth from our hosting services, and the use the service with completely non-exclusivity. They can also turn off the ads whenever they want or run their own custom ad, as opposed to being locked into our service.
Another way we really add value is that we’re going out there and building distribution channels for our developers. With our publisher program, site owners that are interested in leveraging games to attract, engage and retain their users can sign up and get access to thousands of games in our catalog. Developers in our system can benefit by putting their games into our distribution network and having them show up on Facebook, Aeria, Mygame and many more. We help on the representation to advertisers as well as the marketing of the game to get it out there, and developers have analytics and statistics every step of the way.
4. What do you see in happening to in-game advertising in the upcoming years?
On the advertising front, I see the market is going to grow in a big way in the future. eMarketer recently came out with a study that said advertising in web-based games will increase by 133% from 2007 to 2012. According to Comscore’s reporting on traffic to online gaming sites, 1 in 3 Internet users visit them and play games online. These audience numbers doesn’t even account for the fact that many gameplays aren’t on the gaming portals, but on the broader Internet. Advertisers are just starting to understand the medium of games, and online web games are unique because they games appeal to practically everyone. They reach an engaged audience, they are targetable and they are measurable. Our outlook is very optimistic.
Otherwise, I also think there’s a lot of room for further growth and innovation in this space. It’s just in the early stages. I think we’ll see more compelling ad units start to come out, richer integration between the content and advertising message and also a shift toward interactivity in the games themselves. Games will likely start to take advantage of technology to add more multiplayer support, richer integration with the sites they’re on, and all sorts of neat things in the future. A lot of this will start from the indie developers pursuing the dreams they love, though, and it will be neat to watch that.
5. Is there anything else you would like to add?
I have to stick a plug in here to say that we’re hiring! We are looking for all sorts of people both in business and engineering who are passionate about games. You can find a full list of open positions at http://www.mochimedia.com.